Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike recently completed his move from Turkish club Fernabahce to Al Ain of Dubai, United Arabs Emirate. In this interview, the 2013 AFCON top scorer said he is looking forward to scoring goals in Asia “beyond expectations” after his sensational loan move to the Dubai club. Excerpts
How do you feel taking on another challenge in your career with Al Ain of Dubai?
Every move I have made in my career has always been great, this one to Al Ain will be greater. Since my days in South Africa, Turkey, Russia and back to Turkey, it has always been a wonderful experience.
I have never regretted any decision I take in my career and I am very confident that this is another greater moment for me.
I feel very happy, it radiates in my body system that I am pleased with the deal because I seek a new challenge which is here and I will work hard to deliver for the club at every point in time.
This move has a lot to do with my career and I am ready to work hard and get back to my scoring best.
Before this deal was sealed, had you ever thought of taking your career to Asia?
As a footballer, you are bound to play anywhere that you will be happy. Clubs in Asia are like every other clubs in Europe, of course there are differences and that is why they are also progressing to ensure they meet the standard of European football.
Football is about movement. There are lots of top quality players from top European teams and leagues doing well here and exposing the game.
I have come to Al Ain to contribute my quota and add value to the team and the league just like what other African and European footballers have been doing here. Before now, I know I will play to a greater level, and for me, this is one of it.
Al Ain expect goals and great display from you, despite the fact that last season you struggled to score goals with Fenerbahce. Are you ready for this?
I am focusing on the future, I can only look at my past to see the mistakes I had made to keep getting better, but what happened last season doesn’t make me a bad player. I am at Al Ain with great optimism, and it will not change.
Last season, I was baffled at what happened, I was not at the level I wished. In fact at some point, I almost lost confidence due to a lot of things around me. I really don’t want to say much on those issues because I am still very much loyal to Fenerbahce. As a matter of fact, I never see those times as troubled times as such, but I believe it is one of those things that happen in life, it actually toughened me.
Remember I was received at Fenerbahce with a rousing welcome and I delivered in my first season. I scored goals, I won the league title and everything was perfect. But in the second season, things did not that go well, which is normal for any player.
Al Ain are top club in the Arabia Gulf league, they won trophies and compete season after season in the Asia Champions League. What are your targets with this club?
I have come here to deliver, nothing will change it. But I cannot do it alone, I am a team player, I will love to get going with my team mates and get the cooperation of everybody. I am not going to speak about my ability but my legs should be able to do a lot things about my coming to Al Ain.
The club has won three straight titles while Asamoah Gyan was here, can you also spur them to titles?
Of course, I am ready for that, I did it with Fenerbahce. I have no other mission here at Al Ain than to score goals and win titles. The expectation is obviously high and I am looking forward to justify the trust they have in me.
Are you under pressure to deliver the goals?
Not at all, the club know what I am capable of doing. I am good to score goals to win the titles. My mission here is to fly higher with the team. I am an instrument of success and it has brought joy to my career.
Al Ain are a reputable club here in Dubai and in the Asia continent. I know the task ahead of me and I am fully prepared for it.
I have come to work hard, play, score goals and win trophies. I will give all I have to score goals for this club. It is very important for me to do something different from what the fans have been seeing from other players.
My heart is here, my thinking is very positive and I am working had every day to hit top form before the league resumes.
You have resumed training with the club. How did you see the atmosphere and the training compared to where you are coming from?
As for me, everything is perfect, I am adjusting to every bit of the training and with time, I will get better.
Are you under any pressure to fill the big void Gyan left at the club?
I am not under any pressure, I am good to go! It is not something I have to learn, it’s in me and I must prove it. I have scored goals in Europe, I know what it takes and it’s not a big deal coming to play for an ambitious club like this.
Leaving Fenerbahce does not mean I must prove them wrong. I am focusing on how I will score beyond expectations. And for Gyan, I am not here to fill his shoes or be Gyan. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best in Africa and he left Al Ain with a good record. I have come to make my own impact in the team.
It is not something that I must do with pressure. I am a natural striker and I will justify the confidence of the club and everybody.
While in Fenerbahce last season, what did you miss most on the pitch?
I missed my goals celebrations. Sometimes I felt bad when I walked off the pitch without the celebration, but I used to get over it when I contribute to the team’s victory. Goal scoring is part of me and something I love to do every time, but if I don’t score, I am always eager to make a huge impact for the victory.
Before you moved to Al Ain, there are so many speculations linking you to clubs in the English Premier League and even a return to Russia. Did these interest you?
My situation at Fenerbahce brought out a lot of speculations. And that tells you I am not a bad player, there were a lot of clubs who showed interest in me, but Fenerbahce did not want me to leave. Clubs from England made offers, but I think Fenerbahce were not pleased with the offers or something.
My greatest concern is to be on the pitch, play and be happy. I will love to play in the Premier League, but I am never too desperate to do so.
You played at last year’s World Cup in Brazil. How was the experience?
It was the biggest moment in my career because that is the highest any player could wish to play at.
It is every player’s dream to play at the World Cup, so it was one of my childhood dreams. It is something that I will cherish. I am glad to have achieved such a big opportunity and fulfilled the dream.
But frankly speaking, I didn’t enjoy the tournament the way I wanted. The whole world expected the Super Eagles to spring surprises in Brazil.
The World Cup has now come and gone. It is now the future and how to get better in the subsequent edition.