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Nigeria coach promises his players will improve

Nigeria coach promises his players will improve

Under fire coach Shaibu Amodu hopes he will still be in charge to lead Nigeria at the World Cup in June despite his team's 1-0 defeat to Ghana in an African Cup of Nations semifinal.
Amodu, who has been under pressure since the beginning of the tournament earlier this month, admitted Thursday his players "didn't play at their best" in Angola but promised "they will improve if I stay in charge."
Amodu is under contract with the Nigeria federation until August. There was speculation he could be fired before the World Cup if the Super Eagles hadn't reach the semifinals of the tournament.
Two-time African champion Nigeria, which last reached the biennial tournament's final in 2000, struggled to reach the last four this year following a penalty shootout win over minnow Zambia.
"I have to confess that we reached the semifinal without playing great football," Amodu said. "I have pointed our deficiencies and I know what we have to do to get better."
Nigeria, who already lost to Ghana at the previous African Cup two years ago, have been drawn in a difficult World Cup group with Argentina, Greece and South Korea.
"My contract with the Nigeria federation is due to expire in August," Amodu said. "If I'm still there for the World Cup, I'm confident the boys will be better. I know they can develop step by step."
Nigeria, which will face off with either Algeria or Egypt on Saturday in the third place playoff, had numerous half-chances against Ghana but failed to convert any of them.
"I'm a bit disappointed because on the day we played our best match we were knocked out," Amodu said. "But we were in the last four and we showed we deserved to be there."
But Nigeria striker and captain Peter Odemwingie was critical of his coach's tactics and said Ghana deserved to win the game.
"I think we have used all the luck we had so far in this tournament," Odemwingie said. "We played as individuals not as a team and I think we need more tactical flexibility than to play 4-3-3 all the time. We need to play more attacking football.
We played with one striker and it did not help us and we did not get a lot of chances. We could have played much better."


Updated : 2021-05-11 04:05 GMT+08:00