Imama Amapakabo: I knew that Sudan would defend

The head coach of Nigeria Under 23 team, Imama Amapakabo, has stressed that he knew that the defeated Sudanese side would park the bus in order to protect their slim first-leg advantage in the return leg of the 2019 U23 AFCON qualifier played on Tuesday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

The Olympic Eagles slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Omdurman and Amapakabor disclosed that he had to tell his players to resort to the use of the wings to clip the resistant of the Sudanese who all sat at the back in anticipation of a respectable score line which could see them snatch the ticket of the hands of Nigeria just like they did with the Flying Eagles in the build-up to the 2017 U20 AFCON.

“Before we played against Sudan in Omdurman it was sketchy for me because I had very little information about them,” Imama said. “I only had about two or three of their match tapes that I had to study. I was a bit sceptical because the tapes I had were in Arabic language and translating from Arabic to English was a challenge too.

“I tried to get one or two persons to help out but it was impossible. I tried to mark faces to whatever tactical formation that i saw them play in the videos I had, unfortunately, loss of concentration in the 43rd minute led to their goal and the game ended 1-0 in their favour.

“Having studied two of their away games against Kenya and Seychelles, I knew they were going to come sitting a bit deep so we needed to train very well on how to take the balls to the sides and be patient. We waited for the slips to come and we recognised those moments and did the demage.

“I think the boys responded to what I have been teaching them. It showed from our tactical play. We were patient when they were not coming out when they stayed deep in front of their goal, we waited for them to come out and made use of the space we were able to create.”

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