By Jacob Ajom
Chief coach of the na-tional team, Shaibu Amodu, has said that the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola would serve as a pointer to what to expect from the Eagles at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Amodu, who addressed sports editors and media managers in Lagos, yesterday, said the Nations Cup which begins January 10, 2010, was of immediate concern to him than the World Cup which many people had been talking about.
Despite criticisms about the sloppy style of play by his team, Amodu believes he has a good team.

“We have a team that is gradually evolving,” the coach insisted, adding that “a team that does not lose matches even when under pressure means it is a good team. There must be something good about such a team.

“If you saw the team that beat Kenya in Nairobi, and  recall the fighting spirit and the winning mentality exhibited by them, you will realise we have a team,” the sweat merchant remarked, saying repeatedly that “what the players need is your support.”

He recalled that his brief was clear — to secure the Nations Cup and World Cup tickets. “That is exactly what we have achieved. Those who want entertaining football can wait for the team to mature.”

The underfire coach therefore called for cooperation from all Nigerians, particularly, from the sporting media as the team have been slated to depart Abuja for camping in Durban, South Africa, on December 30.

“When we support them, they will go to Angola and do well. This will be a good omen  for our World Cup campaign in South Africa,” Amodu remarked.

He hinted that there may be no marked changes in his final squad from the team that qualified the country for the World Cup, adding that those clamouring for home-based players should be patient with him as he had no luxury of time to actually bring out the best in them.

The coach claimed that he mooted the idea of hiring a fitness trainer for the team  but denied knowledge that one had already been engaged.

Said he: “I don’t like the way we handle issues in this country. Under normal circumstances, every information about the technical crew would have come from one source. For now, there has been no subtraction or addition to the technical crew that will be going for the Nations Cup.”

The coach pleaded  with the media to discard negative criticism and rather    report the things that could help him build a stronger team.

“There is nothing wrong with constructive comments. I like to read articles I can learn one or two things from.”
He said, “the way we report our national team affects the boys and even me,” adding that positive reports would always ginger the boys and encourage them for greater performance.


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