The coach of the senior national team of Nigeria Ladan Bosso had a chat with OGN after his team sealed a spot at the U20 Africa Cup of Nations semi final by beating Uganda 1-0 in yesterday’s quarter final game.
It means Nigeria are through to the U20 World Cup in Indonesia in May but the coach still has his eyes on achieving more from the tournament which includes winning the tournament. He said it was part of their goals before the start of the tournament.
Bosso also fired back at the goalkeeper coach of the Egyptian team who said some of the Nigerian and Senegalese players are older than their ages citing the bearded number 3 jersey of Nigeria Solomon Agbalaka.
Below is the full interview.
OGN – Congratulations on qualifying for the semi final and also the World Cup but how far do you think this team can go?
Bosso- Thanks a lot. We are a lot more comfortable now after securing a ticket to the World Cup which is essentially the aim of this tournament. We will play a lot better now and we can now focus on winning our next game. One game at a time.
OGN- Do you real think your team can go all the way and lift the trophy?
Bosso- All the four teams left in the tournament can win it. We can but like I said it’s one game at a time. Semi-final first and then we can talk about the final and possibly winning the tournament . I repeat one game at a time.
OGN – A lot of Nigerians are still not happy with the team’s performance despite qualification for the World Cup. What’s your reaction to that?
Bosso – Performamce is relative. We have conceded just once and won there of our four games. Only Senegal have a better record than us. We came to this tournament with players who have never played at this level. You can tell they are nervous from the first game.
Against Senegal, we were up against a better experience team with six players from their team that won the CHAN tournament. Egypt were were the host and when we played them in our second game they have the crowd behind them and it energized them and it had an effect on my players.
In our last group game, we had to play with our hands on the break because the game has a direct bearing on our qualification for the semi final. In the semi final we had to also make sure we don’t get over excited because the world cup ticket is at stake. So we played four games with huge significance to our aim at the tournament. Now it’s the semi final and we are more relaxed to play our game.
OGN- The goalkeeper coach of Egypt said Nigeria and Senegal played with older players. What’s your reaction to that?
Bosso- Losers will always look for excuses. He mentioned Agbalaka having beards but all his players bar two also have beards. So by his statement they are all above the age. I beat my chest to say we have the youngest U20 team ever in the history of Nigerian football.
OGN – Which area of the team are you looking to improve ahead of the World Cup?
Bosso- Almost everywhere but especially in attack. We could do with three new players in that department. The World Cup is a bigger stage hence we have to approach it with our best available legs.
OGN – Any plans to invite foreign based players?
Bosso – Why not? We have some who came to the camp but left due to one or two Issues. When that times comes we will take a look at them again but 75% of these players will form the base of my team for the World Cup.
OGN – Thank you very much coach.
Bosso – Thank you for the support.