Akwa United forward Okechukwu Gabriel says scoring the winner for Nigeria in Sunday’s 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) against Angola was something he would cherish for the rest of his life.
Gabriel, who came on for injured Sunday Faleye in the 59′, struck in extra-time to give Super Eagles a vital 2-1 win over Palancas Negras and through to semifinal to face Sudan. Anthony Okpotu scored the equalizer for Nigeria after Vladimir Vá’s opener.
In a chat with SportingLife, Gabriel said the victory was a big relief for the team.
“We knew that over 180 million Nigeria are watching us and we have the responsibility to deliver. I was watching from the bench and I knew we had a chance to win the game. I was not panicked when I got the ball and I made sure I placed the ball well into the net. When I received the ball, I made sure that I had beaten all the defenders before I played it. It is a thing of joy for me and the team as well as Nigerians in general,” Gabriel said to SportingLife.
Gabriel has been largely used as a substitute in this tournament and he is looking forward to making his first start for the team in the semifinal clash against Sudan on Wednesday.
“Sure, I will like to start with the team. I will like to play alongside Okpotu on the team. I think we had a good partnership in today’s game and I am looking to play with him again. We are happy that we won. We will take positive from today’s game and prepare well for Sudan.”