Remember him? Stanley Amuzie was the gangling left back in Samson Siasia’s Under 23 squad at the 2016 Olympics. Contracted to Sampdoria in the Serie A, he is on loan at FC Lugano of Switzerland. After featuring for the entire duration of Lugano’s 1-1 draw with FC Thun on Saturday, he spoke to www.naijasportsgrill.com.
NSG: Stanley, another 90 minutes of action (against Thun). How was the game?
AMUZIE: Good. I played 90 minutes. That was actually why I came here (Lugano). To play regularly. But the result wasn’t what we prayed for. A win would have helped us climb the table. But no problem. We will keep pushing.
NSG: How is the Swiss league?
AMUZIE: It’s okay. Though it is not as big as some of the bigger leagues in Europe but as a starter, it’s fine. There is always a starting point. Remember what the Bible said about days of small beginnings? Great things have small beginnings. So the league in Switzerland isn’t that big but it’s still okay and competitive enough.
NSG: Why has it been difficult for you to break into the national team?
AMUZIE: For me it is not difficult. It is about having the chance. It is only when the chance is giving to you that you will show what you can do. I am a patient person. All I will do is to keep doing what I’m doing. Avoid distraction and be focused. As long as I keep playing and I’m playing well, I won’t be ignored. I know I will get another chance in the national team. My time is not up. In fact, the future is still bright.
NSG: The national team has been having issues with the left back. After the Olympics, we all thought you will step in. What happened?
AMUZIE: (Laughs) I don’t have any say on this o! It is for people to judge. As I told you earlier, my time will come. God’s time is the best.
NSG: You are on loan from Sampdoria. Seems you are having tough times breaking into the big leagues in Europe.
AMUZIE: Sampdoria was my first time of playing for a top division team and they already had three other quality left backs. It wasn’t easy breaking into the team. I tried but it was so hard. As in, the competition was fierce. I had to move to Lugano to get more playing time and I’m enjoying my game here. For a footballer, there is nothing to compare with playing regularly. It makes you better. And I know I’m a much better player now. Everything is still work in progress.
NSG: What are the terms of your deal with Sampdoria and Lugano?
AMUZIE: I’m at Lugano on loan with a possibility to make it permanent at the end of the season.
NSG: So do you wish to make your stay in Lugano permanent or head back to Sampdoria?
AMUZIE: No decision yet. We will see at the end of the season.
NSG: Do you thing you have what it takes to make the World Cup squad?
AMUZIE: Talk is cheap. I prefer to do my own talking with my legs. My performance will decide. Let the opportunity come first.
NSG: Do you feel neglected by the national team coaches?
AMUZIE: (Cuts in) I’m not neglected. Nigeria is blessed with hundreds of players out there who also deserve to be given a chance. It is just that one has to take his chance when he gets it.
NSG: Do you think Eagles will do well at the World Cup?
AMUZIE: I know we will do well. We have Young and dedicated players who are willing to give their all.
NSG: How would you assess the progress of your Olympics teammate Williams Troost-Ekong in the Super Eagles?
AMUZIE: Great. That should motivate some of us. Ekong is a quality player, no doubt. I’m not surprised he has broken into the national team.
NSG: Not much was known about you in the
Nigerian league before you left for Europe.
AMUZIE: I didn’t play league football in Nigeria. Just academies. I started in Enugu, then Makurdi before heading back home (Mbaise). All academy football.
NSG: What was growing up like in Mbaise?
AMUZIE: I didn’t actually grow up in Mbaise. We had to head back to the village when things changed for my family.
NSG: Things changed for your family? Can you explain further? Somebody might learn from your story.
AMUZIE: No. I wouldn’t want to talk about it.
NSG: Some people think you are too tall for a left back.
AMUZIE: (Prolonged laughter) It is not about size. It is all about what you can do with the ball.
NSG: Learnt you started as an attacker. How true was that?
AMUZIE: Yes, then I became a winger; later, a midfielder, central defender, before I settled for left back. I still play central sometimes these days but I prefer left back.
NSG: You mean you still play central defense at your current club?
AMUZIE: Yes. Depending on what the coach wants or if somebody is suspended. But I prefer left back.
NSG: What’s your impression of your coach at the Olympics, Samson Siasia? He seems to believe so much in you.
AMUZIE: He is like a father to me. He encourages you no matter your age. He gives everybody a chance to play. He is the type of coach every young player would like to play under. I learnt so much from him.
NSG: Who is that special person in your life?
AMUZIE: My mum. Nothing compares to her.
NSG: So when is
Stanley getting married?
AMUZIE: (Laughs) No comment.