Nigeria international and Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo has opened up about how he felt after he was compared to Jay-Jay Okocha following his impressive debut in Super Eagles 2-2 draw against Ukraine.
Aribo, who made a scoring debut for the Super Eagles in a 2-2 friendly draw against Ukraine, also expressed his pleasure at hearing German boss Gernot Rohr revealing the Gers ace was so good he had to recall him for the glamour game against the Samba stars.
Gernot Rohr is billed to take Super Eagles to Singapore to face the five-time world champions with the former Bordeaux boss expected to recall many of the regular stars who missed the Ukraine game. This in effect means many of the new boys who made up an experimental side in Ukraine would not be recalled.
But Rohr said: “One of the new players, Joe Aribo, impressed me so much that I now regard him as an important member of the team and so he will play against Brazil.”
The 23-year-old Aribo has received such compliments with delight and can’t wait to put in the green and white once again.
And, preparing for the Ger’s Betfred Cup quarter-final clash at Livingston, Aribo said: “Games don’t come much bigger than Brazil and we know they’ve got a lot of stars like Neymar.
“That’s the type of opponents I want to be playing against and it would be good to swap a jersey with one of those superstars. I’ll see so many stars and I’ll take a moment to realise that’s what I’ve been dreaming of, Aribo said.
“Everyone in my generation loved players like Ronaldinho and he played with some of the players in this team now so it’s like ‘wow’. I didn’t think international recognition would come so soon but it shows the stature of Rangers and why it was a good decision to come here.
“The manager watched the game and congratulated me on my debut goal against Ukraine. “I wouldn’t say it was much of a step up from Rangers but it was good to play against opponents like that because Ukraine have a lot of top players.
“And it was very good news to be called up to the Nigeria squad again. I’m happy I was able to do enough in the last game to earn a recall. I knew a few of the lads such as Ola Aina and Alex Iwobi and they all welcomed me and made me feel at home.
Speaking on the Okocha comparison, Aribo said that’s too much pressure. “I read the headline where a journalist compared me to Okocha after the Ukraine game – that’s putting a lot of pressure on me!
“I could have played for England but my parents are from Nigeria and I always watched players like Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu as a kid.”