The head coach of Nigeria Under 23 team, Imama Amapakabor has stressed that he knew that the defeated Sudanese side would park the bus in order to protect their slim first-leg advantage in the return leg of the 2019 U23 AFCON qualifier played on Tuesday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
The Olympic Eagles slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Omdurman and Amapakabor disclosed that he had to inform his players to resort to the use of the wings to clip the resistant of the Sudanese who all sat at the back in the anticipation of a respectable which could see them snatch the ticket off the hands of Nigeria just like they did with the Flying Eagles in the build-up to the 2017 U20 AFCON.
“Before we played against Sudan in Omdurman it was sketchy for me because I had very little information about them,” Imama said. “I only had about two or three of their match tapes that I had to study. I was a bit sceptical because the tapes I had were in Arabic language and translating from Arabic to English was a challenge too.
“I tried to get one or two persons to help out but it was impossible. I tried to mark faces to whatever tactical formation that I saw them play in the videos I had, unfortunately, loss of concentration in the 43rd minute led to their goal and the game ended 1-0 in their favour.
“Now that faces had matched individuals with the tactics we would play and having studied two of their away games against Kenya and Seychelles. I knew they were going to come sitting a bit deep so we needed to train very well on how to take the balls to the sides and be patient whenever it is that they are with a better formation. We waited for the slips to come and we recognised those moments.
“I think the boys answered very well and they responded to what I have been teaching them. It showed from our tactical point of view. We were patient when they were not coming out when they stayed deep in front of their goal, we waited for them to come and made use of the space we were able to make tactically.”
Egypt is more than a month but we have been working towards it and like I said I have had my team in camp. I will be hoping if I would be able to get some of the foreign legion to come but if they can’t, I am very proud of the team we have presently. We don’t know who our opponents will be yet. We shall wait for who we are going to be playing against first and we shall continue our work from there.