Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD gets Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh talking about the imporant things you need to know concerning the national.
With less than five weeks to the all important 2017 African Cup of Nations
qualifier against Egypt , Oliseh states in this exclusive interview that he is targeting at least four points from the double header. He is also upbeatabout the form of his players across Europe ahead of the crucial encounters against Egypt.
Ahead of the 2017 game against Egypt in Kaduna, how much do you know about the current Egypt team led by Hector Cuper?
Well, firstly, I will want to seize this opportunity to apologize to
those who misunderstood my earlier messages and also to thank those who sent in their messages of understanding in spite of the comments.
Ahead of this match, what we know of the Egyptians is that they are crafty and technically good and for us to do well, we have to start early. And that is why we have started working on assembling the team ahead of the game.
The Egyptians have played two friendlies against Jordan and Libya last month and are scheduled to face Burkina Faso next month in another friendly ahead of the double header against Nigeria. Won’t your team be engaging in any buildup match?
We are still looking at the possibility of playing a game before the
match against Egypt, but I must admit it’s giving me a lot of concern because many of our players that we will use for the game are majorly based in Europe. So it’s a bit difficult as their clubs won’t release them for the supposed friendly game. We will be creative enough to get match conditions in training from our players before the game. We are going into this game with our very best to win it, by the grace of God.
The Pharoahs boast at least two prominent stars in Mohammed Salah and Mohammed Elneny. How will your team handle them?
We all know Salah’s strength. He’s a player who is brilliant releasing other players with quality passes from the right flank. He’s good in one on one situations, and can hurt any team. But we equally have players to handle such situations. What we need to do is to be proactive and not be reactive because they will come to Kaduna to soak us in and get away with a point.
Are you confident that the Eagles can get at least four points from the qualifying games versus Egypt?
It’s not a question of being confident, that’s our objective out of a
possible six points. I have worked with the home-based players and they know how we play, so for that reason I have to do the other part with the Europe-based players. I will be going to watch some of our players in action, but I will be starting with those here in Belgium to see those who are ready for the game. The players are all aware of the task.
Hector Cuper has begun the mind games. He was recently quoted that he already has his starting line-up for the game in his mind, which means he is ready for Nigeria. Can that be said of you and your team?
Of course but we will approach the game differently without much fuss.
Will you be adding new players to the squad?
It’s possible because we have a couple of them. There are about two to three players I’m looking at and I have to see first-hand if they are better than the ones we have been using, but it’s very possible we see some.
Also two of your players, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ogenyi Onazi if invited for the crucial game, will play for their respective teams on Sunday 19th of March and may hit camp latest Monday evening, giving them just one day to train with their teammates. How do you intend to shuffle your pack ,barring any unforeseen circumstances?
Well, I have been in talks with the majority of the players and I am happy with the level of preparedness and feedback I am getting from them. We will ensure that they are in good conditions to represent the country at optimal level.
Let's talk about England, where the trio of John Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Victor Moses are all performing well for their respective teams. How big of a boost is this to the. Super Eagles' preparation for the game against Egypt?
Believe me this is what a coach prays for. It’s better to have
problems choosing who to start than not to have any at all.
The one that gladdens me most is that Obi MIkel is playing regularly for Chelsea and that means his fitness will be better than what he had before which is a boost for us. And as regards confidence, he has it more now with the way he plays.
Ighalo is another player who has maintained his form. The Barclays
player of the month award winner for December, with 15 goals so far this season is in top form, I just hope and pray they all maintain
this level, heading into camp in some weeks time.
Which CHAN players impressed you most?
With no disrespect to others, I will hope that this does not run into
their heads. Osas Okoro is one player who was outstanding. In the
three games we played, he had a valuable impact in the games and was voted the man-of-the-match once.
Ifeanyi Matthew is another player who impressed me a lot with his work rate in the middle of the pack and his decisive tackles. And who will forget Chisom Chikatara? His calmness in front of goal is superb. I hope they continue their impressive forms for their respective teams.
Will you be releasing another video message anytime soon, given how the last one went and do you regret those actions and statements?
Well, I don’t want to delve into this, but the reason for releasing
videos is because you don’t want to be mis-quoted. Obviously, that doesn’t work but what is paramount on my mind is to continue the work we have been doing and I’m happy with how the players have been progressing.
Did you consider resigning during the recent face-off with the NFF?
Not at all.
Thanks for your time.