Black Satellites Coach Abdul Karim Zito is hopeful of building a winsome squad to fight for laurels in the not too distant future. The former Asante right back has hit the ground running to build another squad that can conquer the continent in 2022.
Ghana looks set to defend both the WAFU Zone B Cup of Nations and the Total Energies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations having won the previous editions in Benin and Mauritania respectively.
In this interview with ghanafa.org, Coach Karim Zito – discusses team building, talent, and demands in combining national team and club football, mental toughness and more:
Read on for the full transcript:
On building the team whiles the season is on-going
The League is going on – both Division One and the Premier Division are very busy so it’s like the players go and come back and that has helped me a lot. Unlike the previous U-20 where there was no League and it took me a longer time to prepare them. But you can easily see that these players are in good condition compared to the previous team because they are already active.
On difficulties in combining the League season and national team
The only thing that I am trying to manage is how the players shuttle between their clubs for League matches and report here for national team camp for me to train them. They go to play for their clubs and come here immediately after those matches and I have to do all I can to get the best out of them - that is the only thing I am trying to manage now.
On if it is a problem
It’s not a problem; it’s something that I am trying to manage now, aside that, so far, so good.
In terms of talent, I think this squad is ahead of the previous U-20. But there is one thing I am now trying to infuse in them and that is their mental toughness. They know that even if they play at the weekend for their clubs, they will play again when they get here.
On team attitude and getting players to play more matches
There’s no room to relax at all, I am doing that to make them understand that it’s not possible to say you can’t play because you are tired and that is the objective of allowing them to play more matches so for the talent issue, this team has talent than the previous team. But we are now working on the other aspects to put together a winsome team.