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Nigeria will not stand in our way, Otto Addo predicts

BY: Daniel K. Kenu
Coach Otto Addo is confident of victory for his side tomorrow
Coach Otto Addo is confident of victory for his side tomorrow

The Black Stars interim coach, Otto Addo, says he is encouraged by his team's impressive performance against the Super Eagles last Friday, and is therefore confident Ghana will earn a decent win over Nigeria in their own backyard tomorrow in the reverse fixture of the 2022 FIFA world Cup qualifying playoffs to pick one of Africa's five slots for the World Cup in Qatar.

Despite Ghana's inability to beat Nigeria in the first leg clash at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, the team's dominant

performance has strengthened the coach's belief that  with a few corrections and tactical adjustments, they would  take care of business at the Moshood Abiola International Stadium in Abuja.

"If the players are able to follow the plan we have all agreed on, nothing can stop Ghana from returning to the Mundial after missing out of the last edition," a confident Coach Addo said after the match.

Tough assignment

Aware of the herculean task ahead, he went back to the drawing board almost immediately to address three critical areas of the team -- focus, fatigue especially during the latter stages of the game, and concentration.

He believes once these are sorted out, his fairly young and energetic players could easily run down the Super Eagles at their own backyard.
Indeed, the coach noticed basic mistakes with the team in last Friday's game, including dropping their guards momentarily anytime the Nigerians were on the attack.

Describing his new poster boy, Mohammed Kudus, as exceptional, the coach said, once the Ajax midfielder was able to cut down on his antics to "oil' the attack, the deal would be sealed in Abuja.

"I am proud of my boys. They did a fantastic job. But for some few lapses, I believe we could have won the match and made the return leg much easier," he said.

"I believe we can still win in Abuja. This is football and I believe it is doable," he added.

The coach said he had a secret plan which would make the team to succeed today and called for national support to execute the plan.

His new found arrowhead, Felix Afenya-Gyan, who took a knock and had to be replaced, is said to be doing well and is expected to be fit to lead the attack with support from Jordan Ayew, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Daniel Kofi Kyereh.

Partey’s influence

Ghana captain, Thomas Partey, who did not take command of the midfield in the manner he did at English side, Arsenal, will have to be in his elements tomorrow to serve as a raft between the team's defence and the attack to produce the needed results.

In 2001 Nigeria held a home-based Ghana team to a scoreless draw in a world cup qualifier in Accra and won the reverse fixture 3-0 in Lagos.
He believes the Super Eagles will be at their best on home soil and ruled out any surprises in Abuja.

"I respect the Ghana team but if you watch the match carefully, they never created any decent chance. We had two clear chances which if  they had been converted would have sealed the day for us in Kumasi," Coach Eguavoen said.

"I have always been confident to win. Ghana is not a pushover but the truth is, Nigeria will make it to the World Cup. That I can assure you."
With their physical strength advantage against Ghana, the coach intends to push and break down every department in the Black Stars set-up.

"I have noticed some few mistakes in the Ghanaian setup which, I will not share with you, and that's what I am going to use to our advantage," he said.

The Black Stars remained in Kumasi and continued their preparation for the match. They are expected to travel to Abuja this morning and have a feel of the pitch this afternoon ahead of tomorrow's showdown.

Coach Addo is not expect to make any major change to his starting line-up but could fall on Joseph Paintsil or Kyereh to support the attack from the flanks.