…Super Eagles defender,Ambrose Efe recounts his UEFA Champions League experience saying Celtic’s 2-1 win over Messi inspired Barcelona will remain fresh in his mind. He tells BAMIDELE BOLUWAJI in this interview that Super Eagles will aim to win their three group games in the 2013 AFCON, adding victory in the opening match is important…

Your team, Celtic FC lost 2-1 to Benfica in a group stage of the UEFA Champions League game played on Tuesday, how do you feel about this?

It was not a bad game for us. We did our best and being an away game, we knew it was going to be very tough.  We went there and played with all our mind but they were better on the night and that is why they won the game.
Game of football is not predictable, when we scored, we thought we could still go ahead and win the game but unfortunately, it did not end in our favour, but it was not a bad game at all.

Going by the result, would you agree with me that Benfica toughen your team to run away with the 2-1 result?

Yes, UEFA Champions League is a tournament where you see the best teams in Europe playing, so I don’t expect them to take it easy with us because every team playing in the tournament wants to win. Yes, they were tough on us but we equally proved to them that we were not there to look at their pitch but to give them a good fight.  But the most important thing is that we still have a game to go in the group stage and we are going to make sure we win that match to advance.

But with the way things are now, do you think Celtic can still make it?

Yes, I strongly believe that we are going to make it, we started well and we want to see how we can finish the good work. I know that it is going to be tough but we are ready to face the challenges of qualifying from the group. Now that we are back in Scotland, we will go back to the field and prepare very well to make sure we win the last game against Spartak Moscow.

What is the experience of playing against Barcelona like in the UEFA Champions League?

It was very amazing because Barcelona is the best team in the world; and I am happy that we beat them despite the big stars in their team. It was a game I will never forget in my life because I thought they were going to disgrace us even before the match and when the match started and we took some moves that were too much for them to handle, I said nothing will stop us from winning the game and it ended in our favour.  So, it was a good game for us and I am very happy that we beat a team like Barcelona.

What about the fear of Messi in the game?

Messi is a good player and nobody will argue against that but in that match,  we made things difficult for him and he will never forget playing against a team like Celtic and that is the spirit we are taking to the last game to make sure that we win-  though the result from other games will determine our fate. But we are going to do our best to make sure that we scale through.

So, the victory over Barcelona means a lot to you?

Yes, in fact, it was an achievement for me and I can never forget that game. But in the whole of the Champions League, we are looking beyond just to beat Barcelona but to play to go far in the competition.

Chelsea, the defending champions of the UEFA Champions League is not too sure of qualifying from their group after losing 3-0 to Juventus FC of Italy on Tuesday, how do you see the fufure of the team in the tournament?

This is what I was telling you about football; it is a thing no one can predict. A team that won the tournament last season is now struggling to qualify from the group stage, it sounds funny and it is only miracle that can see them making it from that group. I just hope they can adjust and see how they can help themselves to progress in the in the tournament.

Let’s talk about the Super Eagles, Nigeria beat Venezuela 3-1 in a friendly game last Thursday in USA, what do you think the victory meant to the Nations Cup preparation?

It means a lot because it will boost the confidence of the team and the coaches would have also seen the areas they still need to work on in the team. It was good result for us and I hope more will come as we prepare for the Nations Cup.

You were not part of the team that played against the Venezuelans, how do you feel Ambrose?

No. It was just a friendly game and everybody cannot play at the same time. I have no problem with that at all, I am even happy that it has helped the coaches to see other players and in doing that , Nigeria will have the best team at the Nations Cup in South Africa next year.

Finally, Nigeria will play Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia in the group stage, what are you looking forward to in the games?

I am looking forward to victories in all the games, but we have to win our first game very well so that the victory can give us confidence to do more in other games