Every word from Otto Addo’s pre-Nigeria talks

3 months ago

Our head coach Otto Addo has been sharing his thoughts on Ghana’s FIFA international friendly against Nigeria in Marrakech on Friday. The former Borussia Dortmund player touched on his return to the team and what he has picked up so far going into the two games against Nigeria and Uganda.

Otto also shared his thoughts on the absence of key players like Mohammed Kudus, Thomas Partey, and Daniel Amartey amongst others, as well as the current state of Black Stars on the back of recent disappointments in major tournaments.

He was asked about his new technical staff, the quality of Nigeria, the new players and how they have adapted, and what he aims to see at the end of this month’s international window.

Here is everything he had to say:

On his return to the national team as head coach and observations so far

I am happy to be back, it's been quite interesting because if you compare the squad now to the squad at the AFCON, there have been a lot of replacements because of injuries. We have had like seven/eight new players in camp with less experience but with a bright future in front of them and I think it was quite interesting to see them on the pitch to take in good positions against the ball and with the ball, adapting to my philosophy and my style of play so I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Especially for the young boys to show their quality and then with the combination with those who have experience with those who have been here for some time to guide them and I think it will be an interesting match.

Absence of some key players and its effect on the team

It is a pity; we would always want to go with our strongest squad especially when we are playing against Nigeria but for me I am looking for opportunities and it’s an opportunity for the new players to show themselves. So for that I am not thinking about who could be here and who could help us. Looking at the reality this is a squad with experience players and also with young players who are on their way up and who can show me what level and stage they can play.

On new players and what they offer the team

First of all I think they are extremely confident. They look fearless on the pitch and what I like is that in training they have adapted very well. They have integrated very well into the group. I can see them talking a lot, having a lot of fun so I think it’s a very good sign on the pitch and also off the pitch they were warmly welcome by those who have more experience.

On backroom staff and contribution to his work

First of all, I knew all of them before the job. I played with John Painstil together. For Fatawu Dauda, I met him in 2014 at the World Cup and it was really, really nice to get together to share ideas and also to fit. As for Joe (Joseph Laumann) I know him from Germany, he is an expert. He has really, really good eyes for the situations, to react fast but he is also very, very attentive to any kind of things which are distractive and on the other side attentive to other things which can help to develop the group and the team as such. So they have given me very, very important inputs from and it’s really, really good to have them. I can feel after the first four days that they have helped me to improve and this is what we want to have.

On Nigeria and approach

I think we have observed them well, we know what to expect from them. They have really, really strong and experienced players, even though I guess not all of them are here. I think they have a very, very strong squad. We expect them to be very hard to break against the ball but also with the ball, which you saw at the African Cup of Nations, they are really, really good in offensive transmissions, they have fast players on the wings, tall players upfront who can hold the ball no matter who comes, with a really, really solid back chain so it’s going to be tough. But we know what we can do and we know how to play against such a host and even though they went to the final, they showed in some matches that they are vulnerable so anything can happen. I am just hoping that we get a good start and we can end this game as the winning team.

On rebuilding a team for a long term

Truly if you look at the data, we are at a very, very low point. But obviously we were very, very unlucky how we went out of the African Cup of Nations. I think in Africa the countries move closer together, it wasn’t like a Cup of Nations where we saw like this team or that team is better than the other so it’s still quite close but we have to be honest to ourselves. In the last two AFCON’s we didn’t do so well, we had problems with the so called little countries and this is one of our targets to get better in these games, to dominate these games, in the end it is impossible to predict these games but the aim of the coaching staff is to increase our winning probability and for this we have ideas and plans that we want to use every time that we get together to work on these ideas and to execute them on the field.

On being under pressure due to current state of the Black Stars

No, I think this is the reality that the countries have moved closer together. There is no so called lower team that you win by five or six goals to zero. All the teams have adapted to a high level and for that we need to be better prepared and aware of their strength and if we can find solutions to their style of play then I know that with the quality that we have coupled with the young players, we will be hard to beat. Once that is done, in Africa we can beat anyone.

On what he aims to see at the end of the two friendlies

For me, it’s always the same. Each match has different preferences and different options. But also different hurdles and different solutions and for us it’s always the aim to find the right solutions defensively and offensively. So I think Nigeria and Uganda it’s an optimal preparation for the team and I think we can expect the same obstacles, so however the game ends, if we take the right conclusions out of these games then we can prepare ourselves for the upcoming matches against Mali and Central African Republic.