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Every word from Otto Addo’s pre-Uganda interview

Our head coach Otto Addo spent time to talk about the international friendly against Uganda in Marrakech on Tuesday. The former Ghana midfielder who is back on a long term contract led Ghana to the game against Nigeria on Friday after taking over from Chris Hughton.

Otto says he expects an improved performance in our second game against the Cranes at Grande de Stade Marrakech. The Black Stars showed hunger and tenacity in the second half of the loss to Nigeria despite playing with 10-men following a red card to Turkey based defender Jerome Opoku in the 56th minute. In this interview, he touches on expectations against Uganda, possible changes to the lineup, new players knocking on the door and the return of Mohammed Kudus, Alexander Djiku, Thomas Partey and Inaki Williams for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June.

Read on for the full transcript:

On readiness for Uganda

It’s a different set up, different hurdles for this match. I think this match we go as favorites but still it won’t be easy; we have been preparing like two or three systems which will suit the game. But I think if they come the way we expect, we have a good chance to beat them. I think the boys did well in training, a lot of the patterns look good and we still have to be aware, they have their qualities and we have to be concentrated but we are looking forward to this match, especially because we lost the first match we now want the victory.

On Uganda losing 4-0 to Comoros

It is like always, like usual. I saw the match so we are well prepared. If you see the match it could have gone differently even though it was 4-0. There were a lot of unlucky decisions from Uganda perspective. I think this is the main thing if you take this kind of games too easy you won’t go nowhere. I hope that we will be able to score a goal in the first half because that will enlighten the things and if they have to come and try and equalize as it happened against Comoros, then we will have more space to exploit then we can also make the second goal. But like I said I think the hardest thing will be the first half, to break them to score a goal once we achieve this, everything is going to be easier.

On possible changes to starting line up

I am not quite sure yet. Surely I think it won’t be bad to try fresh legs. Also in spite of the result, surely we are looking to win like every game. But also it’s another opportunity for me to see one or two players who haven’t played and I am still thinking if I should give one or two new players the chance in the first half, if not may be in the second half so we will see.

On new players pushing to break into the team

Yes, sure, they did well, no doubt, especially in the second half when we were one man down and still dominating the game. This is not a normal procedure and I think this is what we need in the national team. Concurrence will make each player better and at the end the whole team will benefit.

On selection headache in the absence of some key players

Surely these are good games especially the first one was a good game for a lot these players to show themselves. But still we have some months to go. We will use these months to observe the players in their clubs and this will also come inside our thinking for the next World Cup qualifiers.

On attitude of players training in the rain

Not really impressed but may be surprised a little bit. I didn’t expect this, especially with the young players play at a high level, really, really good. I think we made a good choice in bringing them into the camp. We are already preparing for the future and this is really, really good to see that the young guys coming up are knocking on the door to enter the national team. The players who have been there for a longer time have to be aware because the young guys are hungry, they are good, they are developing and like I said this what will make us all better.

On message to players after loss to Nigeria

We had a post-match analysis where we had many things which we have to look at. Because there were good situations like pressing but there were also bad situations where we didn’t press that well. We have a lot of things to improve with the positioning, out of possession and also in possession and specially in the first half, we had some easy mistakes which allowed the opponent to have chances and for that we analyzed a lot and the players showed a good reaction. I like it when they see their own mistakes and this is the first step to improvement and so we took it well, they took the criticism well and this is the most important thing.

On goalkeeping department and who gets to start against Uganda

I am not quite sure yet. I left it open. I have to say that Ati-Zigi had a good match. I gave him the start because he is a regular player in his club. Frederick is new and young. I think he made a good first impression. He is very, very calm on the ball and has a good technique in the goal. Joseph Wollacott at the moment is not playing in his club so it’s difficult to say that he will be the number one at the moment but I think tomorrow I will give him the chance to play and to show himself and we will keep on watching them and observing them and we will decide in June who will be the goalkeeper who will stand in the goal.

On what he wants to see against Uganda

I hope that we have a good start. We didn’t start that well against Nigeria. The first ten minutes we were not that good afterwards we came in more and more and I am looking forward to that match. I hope that we have a brilliant start and then from there we can keep on because they also will have to come a little bit more, we will have more space to score more goals but the basic is a good start where we create chances, during trained today, we talked about it a lot and so I am looking forward to see them doing it on the pitch.

On keeping an eye on Mali and Central African Republic

This evening we will be watching Comoros on how they play. They are also in a trainings camp and tomorrow after our match we will be watching Mali a little bit. Our analyzers have been cutting some scenes from their previous matches. After these matches I will fully prepare for these two matches so that we are not surprised. It’s going to be tough because we are little bit behind but it’s a group where everything is open, everything is possible and I think we have a good chance to win the two upcoming matches.

On message regarding the remaining qualifiers

It’s going to be tough; this is for sure, nothing easy. Buy when I see the boys it really, really gives me big, big hopes that what we did against Nigeria especially in the second half, we can do it against any opponent, I know. They have to be concentrated, they have to be smart. I am looking forward to the players who are coming back like Mohammed Kudus, Inaki Williams, Thomas Partey, Alexander Djiku, they will give the team more stability and we will be best prepared.

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