Obuh: ‘We will keep it simple vs Ghana’

Head coach of Nigeria’s U20 national team, the Flying Eagles has been speaking in an interview ahead of Monday’s first game in the Africa Youth Championship, AYC against Ghana.

Question: John Obuh you have now settled down in South Africa since your arrival Friday morning. How are you finding things here now?

Answer: We are in good spirits since our arrival here. Unfortunately the training facilities have not been going very well and I’m sure the organisers are very much aware of this problem. Saturday morning we had to use only one side of the training ground to train because the other side was water logged.
But as long as this does not affect only my team, it is not something to really worry about.

How are the boys coping with the weather, which is raining and cold?

The weather is not actually the problem, but the high altitude. We have consulted some top experts in this regard and have since spoken to the players on how they can manage this altitude so as to be able to get a good result beginning from our first match on Monday.
They now know that they cannot afford to go flat out as they would have had they been playing in say Abuja or Lagos. They have to conserve their energy and not lose too much gas as quickly as possible.
Saturday morning they got a good idea of what they are up against as they tired out so quickly. They now know they have to play it simple and let the ball do the running for them.
We are also doing a lot of breathing exercises.
I believe the other teams in this tournament bar the hosts South Africa and Lesotho will be affected negatively by this altitude even after you must have spent more than a week here already.

All your Group B matches have now been fixed for 12 noon local time. Is it something that should bother you?

That is the schedule according to the organising committee, we can’t complain about this.
We just want to go out there and get the result we came here for, whether our matches start at 12 noon or 10 pm.

What are the other preparations you are undertaking ahead of your opening game against Ghana on Monday?

With the assistance of goalkeeper Greg Etafia, who is based in South Africa, we were at a South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) match involving Etafia’s team and Vasco da Gama, which was played at the Dobsonville stadium in Soweto where we will play all our group matches.
We took in the environment where the stadium is located as well as the distance between our hotel and stadium.
These are some of the finer details we have been gathering leading to our opening match.
It was also gratifying that Etafia’s team came from behind to win the game 3-2 and so brighten their chances of escaping relegation.
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