Osaze Odemwingie says Nigeria became too predictable under former coach Shuaibu Amodu and Lars Lagerback has already created a buzz around the squad.
Osaze, 29, was one of the more outspoken critics of Amodu’s regime but he said that he did so without malice.
“For the past two years, with Amodu, we’ve been easy to predict. We have to have more variety in our tactics and our attack.
“There’s not much negative or bad about his coaching. It’s just that it’s not enough if we are aspiring to go up there. It’s the difference between good, and better.”
After four training sessions with Lagerback, Odemwingie said things were already looking up, with the Swede instilling a fear no foe confidence in his new team.
“He doesn’t look like someone who doubts his own quality and I think he can bring a result that Nigerians expect. I see him relaxed, as someone with a plan, who took this job after watching our games and knowing that he can do better than where we were.
“From the first training, he is looking at attacking football. He is looking at a passing game. He is looking at the penetrating pass, a pass that creates danger, less square passes and more forward passes. He keeps reminding us that we have to play beautiful football and that results are also very important.
“At the same time, you can see that he doesn’t want to play a game where Nigeria is scared of the opponent, any opponent.”
Odemwingie says already the atmosphere in camp is different.
“You could feel it. You cannot deny it. Like our people say, oyibo na oyibo. There is a touch they add to Africans when they bring their ideas, their calculations, their tactics, their organisation, their way of being more effective on the field. That is going to be added for sure.
“The training so far has been good, the build-up and the movement. I think Lagerback is the best choice Nigeria made.”
More importantly, the forward says Nigeria have to return to their attacking traditions.
“We need to be more ourselves. I think that is what we were denied these past few years. We were not playing like Nigeria. We were more defensive minded. That is why we didnt score so many goals lately, and that is also why we have been struggling even with the average African teams.
“But we could also understand that choice of tactics because it looks like there was a little bit of lack of confidence in our defence line.
“A few times we conceded silly goals, but at the same time, we needed the result and changes had to be done.
“We hope now that things will be better.”
On his first day at work with his squad, Lagerback showed the players individual videos and Osaze said it came as a bit of a surprise.
“I was surprised because we never had that before in our coaching.
“That’s another little thing. Those little things make a difference. Europe has gone far. I am not here to criticise our situation. Its just that right now we have to admit that we are still a little bit behind. In our clubs we see that those things are important. Here, he showed us a few highlights, pointed out some things and everybody is commending it.”
He is under no illusions though, as to how much work remains to be done, but says there is a positive feeling about.
“We have a lot of work to do. The whole team have been commending the training sessions, and we hope to continue for the remaining days.
“We are getting a positive feeling now about ourselves, because it is in the hands of the coach how he motivates his team.”
Ultimately though, he says it will be up to the players to do the business on the pitch.
“We have to believe in ourselves, and in what we can do and go out there on the pitch and show it for the love of our country. There are a lot of people who just want a chance to play and that means that if you are lucky enough to be selected, you have to give your best at all times.”
Rivers United Know Confed Cup Foes, Dec 12
The Confederation of African Football has fixed December 12 for the group stage draws of the Champions League and the Confederation Cup, Tidesports can confirm.
Group stage draws for both interclub competitions were initially slated for November 16, but CAF announced a postponement via its website, a day before the event.
The draws will now be held almost a month after the initial date, as confirmed by Africa’s football governing body.
“The Group Stage draw for the 2022/23 TotalEnergies CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup will be conducted on Monday 12 December 2022 in Cairo, Egypt.
“The TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup will be live from 13h00 (11h00 GMT) followed by TotalEnergies CAF Champions League at 14h00 (12h00 GMT).
“Both draws will be live on CAF digital platforms and also CAF TV partners,” CAF wrote on its website.
With the development, it means Nigeria Professional Football League side, Rivers United, will find out its group opponents in the Confederation Cup Dec 12.
The media officer of the club, Charles Mayuku, also confirmed that the new date has been communicated.
“CAFCC: @Rivers United FC to Know Foes December 12th. The group stage draw was initially fixed for November 16th but had to be postponed due to some reasons.
“According to the update coming from CAF, December 12th has been fixed for the draw at its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt,” Mayuku tweeted on his official Twitter handle
Since scaling the hurdle of Al Nasr Benghazi in Libya, the club has been training at the Adokiye Amesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, while also looking forward to the money-spinning stage of the competition.
Rivers United are in the running for the second-tier competition with 15 other clubs.
Cricket: Nigeria Team Arrives Rwanda For W/Cup Qualifier
Nigeria’s men’s senior cricket team, the Yellow Greens, has arrived Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 Africa Sub Region B World Cup qualifier yesterday.
The team arrived Rwanda via Zimbabwe, where they embarked on a week-long training tour with four warm-up games against the Midwest Rhinos cricket club in Kwekwe. Nigeria won the series 3-1.
It began with a 122 to 126 runs loss in the first game, before the Yellows Greens followed it up with comprehensive wins in the last three games, edging Rhinos by 102-59, 82-39 and a 112-111 runs.
National coach, Clive Ogbimi, expressed optimism about the impact of the training tour on the players.
“We selected a team of international standard for the tour and the chaps have learnt a lot, especially in the areas of fielding and organising play.
“You will notice that in four games, Nigeria batted first and we didn’t get last 125 runs. It shows that a little more is to be done, regarding the batting. We start well, and we must be able to finish well.
“On the other side, the batters will have to show tremendous belief in their abilities and Coach Steve and I have always emphasised that as well. Putting all of that together, we had brilliant performances from the players to win the nervy games and we hope to go to Rwanda with that winning momentum,” Ogbimi said.
Upon the arrival of all teams today, technical meetings will follow Wednesday, while actions will begin on Thursday with four games per day till December 9.
21st NSF: RSG Tasks Team Rivers To Win As Opening Ceremony Takes Place, Today
Today, Asaba, the capital city of Delta State will be at the center stage in Nigeria as President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to declare the 21st National Sports Festival (NSF) open at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Before Team Rivers left her base yesterday, the State Government has charged athletes to put up impressive performance as the State Government is expecting nothing less than top position at the festival.
The State Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green gave the charge yesterday, while addressing athletes in Port Harcourt, saying that he had no doubt that his athletes will perform credibly.
According to him, Team Rivers athletes have the potentials to top the medals table because there was adequate preparations and motivations for the festival .
“What His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike is expecting is nothing less than first position because he has released funds for the Festival.
“ As I speak, no athlete in the State is being owed one dime, all camp allowances and other payments due athletes have been paid, consequently, what we expect in return was to the win the festival and make the state proud”, Barrister Green said.
Earlier, the Commissioner had said at different fora that he was poised to develop sports in the State in all ramifications, saying that no good athlete in the State will die in penury.
”As a Commissioner I will ensu re that I develop other Sports and not only football. Let me also say it here I am not commissioner for football, but I am commissioner for Sports.
“You all are aware that our Governor is a sports loving person, that is why he gave Sports deveploment priority and he was awarded the Power of Sports Africa (POS Africa) award”; he stated.
General Yakubu Gowon, initiated the National Sports Festival in 1973 as a platform to bring together youths from all parts of the country to compete, using sports as a tool to achieve national healing after the brutal 30-month civil war.
He saw the sports festival as a rallying point for national unity and cultural integration. It was named the Unity Games.
The maiden edition of the NSF took place in 1973 at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
By: Tonye Orabere
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