Kanu: We called Keshi ‘big boss’

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Nwankwo Kanu has a long history with the FIFA World Cup™, having appeared in three tournaments spanning three different decades wearing the colours of Nigeria. The tall striker helped his side to match their best ever performance of escaping the group stages at France 1998, while he took his final bow for the Super Eagles at South Africa 2010.

He told FIFA.com last year that “everyone wants to represent their country at the World Cup and there are three goals you want to achieve there. The first is to participate, the second is to make your mark, and the third is to win it.”

The former Ajax, Inter Milan and Arsenal forward is now out in Brazil watching his beloved country achieve the first of those targets, while no doubt hoping they can tick off the second one and, who knows, maybe even the third. FIFA.com caught up with him again as they beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 in Cuiaba to get his views on the team.

How do you feel the team played against Bosnia and Herzegovina?
When we played against Iran, they were not really coming out. The Bosnians, of course, wanted to win so they came out and that suited our pattern of play, which was good for us.

Do you feel you will be able to earn the point you need against Argentina to ensure a Round of 16 place?
Yeah, I think so, because what has happened with the Nigerian team is that they keep getting better game after game, so I believe when we play Argentina the confidence and the winning mentality beating Bosnia will bring will mean we will be able to do well against Argentina.

Are you enjoying the fact that a Nigerian World Cup legend in Stephen Keshi is leading the side in Brazil?
Yeah, we support him, we know what he can do. He has done it in the Africa Cup of Nations but he still has to do it this time around. It’s good to see him, a former captain, become the coach, a player who appeared at the World Cup now leading his side at the tournament again.

You played alongside him with the Super Eagles at the start of your career. What are you memories of him?
We used to call him the ‘big boss’ [laughs]. He is the big one who makes the decisions and we as the young ones had to respect that and follow him. But the good thing with him was that he had influence and I think he is showing that again with the way he is leading the national team.

It is also quite a young team as well, so do you think there is more to come from them in the future?
When [Keshi] came in, he said we need to build a team and before we knew it we had won the Nations Cup and now we are in the World Cup, so I think the work is in progress.

Are you enjoying following the team around Brazil?
Yes, I love it! Do I think I will be here for the whole tournament? I would say yes, because we are going to get to the semi-finals of course.

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