By Onochie Anibeze
While many countries are fixing friendly matches to help their preparation for the next World Cup qualifiers, Nigeria is canceling theirs.
Uruguay was initially scheduled to play Nigeria in London before the September tie with Tunisia. The possibility of another friendly was being explored before the technical crew even advised against the match with Uruguay.
A member of the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Association revealed why Amodu Shuaibu and his team spoke against a tough friendly before the next World Cup qualifier and got a backing from the football authorities.
“Amodu does not want any friendly before the next match so that he and the players will not lose focus on the Abuja match.
Any match before the Abuja tie could be a distraction,” the member said and defended Amodu this way: “In other countries, friendly matches are used to prepare for major assignments. Coaches use them to find out things about their games and the players so that they can make corrections. But in Nigeria, friendly matches create confusion for the coaches.
Everybody starts criticizing the teams, making comments that confuse the coaches rather than encourage them. And Amodu feels that some of the criticisms are so harsh that they affect the players too.
He feels that the media and many Nigerians are always antagonistic especially after every game. Even the drawn game in Tunisia is an example. Many still called the team names after an away draw with a team leading the group. So, Amodu feels that any friendly before the crucial tie with Tunisia will expose them to all manner of criticisms and ideas that may distract them from remaining absolutely focused.
That’s why he doesn’t want a friendly match before that match. Another point he noted was that he already knew the players he would invite for the game.”
These were the reasons given by this inside and authentic source. But officially, the football house said that it was calling off the tie against Uruguay after considering the fact that the season in Europe would just be starting and calling players off from their teams may make them lose their first team shirts and they took a decision they felt would favour the players in their club duties.
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