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Otto Addo on Nigeria and Uganda friendlies and plans for World Cup qualifiers: Transcript

Our head coach Otto Addo shared a few thoughts with us after Tuesday’s international friendly against Uganda in Marrakech. Ghana conceded an 83rd minute goal to draw 2-2 with the Cranes and finished the game with ten-men following red cards to substitutes Mohammed Salisu and Alidu Seidu.

The Black Stars opened their goal account in the 7th minute through Jerome Opoku but Steven Mukwala drew Uganda level before Jordan Ayew converted from the spot inside 27 minutes to restore Ghana’s lead.

Speaking to ghanafa.org, Otto Addo touched on lessons from the two games, having finished both games with red cards, attitude of players on and off the pitch and plans for the team from now until June when we line up against Mali and Central African Republic in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Read on for the full transcript:

Summary of teams performance against Nigeria and Uganda

We didn’t win a game, so this is the summary which is bad. I think we can see the first match; even though we lost you could see that there were a lot of positive things especially in the second half with ten men, playing good football, having good movements, well positioned against a strong Nigerian team with a lot of young players. The second match was more difficult for us. I know that if you want to build something, especially like having more possession, playing out from the back, there will be mistakes and with mistakes sometimes comes out of a little bit of fear to make mistakes so we have to get over it.

On lessons from 2-2 draw with Uganda

It was a good learning curve today, there were some good parts but in all surely, it’s a way too less to play 2-2 against Uganda, we expected more even though a lot of players were missing, I don’t have to say. But we could have done better. We were a little bit unlucky with the two goals against us – with the penalty and the second one I don’t know if it was even a goal. But in all the football we played was not good enough, we should have created more chances especially in the final third. We have to work on creating more chances, finishing must be better under pressure; it’s a lot of work, a lot of work. But I have to say that this is what I expected because to be honest the last few games in general even before I came have not been good but it’s a process.

On having two players sent off

No. Because I think even when we were with eleven, there were too many things I saw today which I didn’t like. Counter pressing, closing the gaps in the back, allowing chances for the opponents, we had like one chance. I think this is even too much but there were three, four chances, we also had our chances but normally I see us higher than Uganda and we have to do much, much better.

On finishing both games with red cards

Yes. This is what we also have to work on, whatever I was not happy with the decision at all and don’t want to go into the details. But surely we have to learn out of this. I think the discipline off the pitch in this camp was very good but the discipline on the pitch to play to good, play hard but with intelligence and not getting silly yellow and red cards. This discipline has to be much better and this is something we addressed after the match which we have to work on and the most important thing is that the players learn out of this. We made a lot of changes also in the second game and for me it was important coming new, having being there two years on to see where the players are standing and to give players a chance as much as I can. For me it was a good lesson, I got a lot of answers on too many questions, a lot of questions on my mind have been answered and this is good and positive. We have to work on it now. We will monitor the players in the next two months before we have the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and we hope that they will learn from their mistakes from today.

On discussions with players on goals we conceded

We conceded too many goals that is right and I think the defensive line as they played today game and the other games haven’t played together and you could see the communication amongst the players was not as good as we wanted to have. Truly it’s difficult if key players in that role are missing. But like I said, I got a lot to see today and I also saw who can be an option and may be who is not. We will be monitoring the players in the upcoming months and we will make the right conclusions for our upcoming matches in June. We have to improve in our defensive positioning, closing gaps, recognizing situations and taking the right decisions defensively. Like I said counter pressing, closing gaps, defending in the last third and passing lanes was not that good but we have to work on it and do better next time.

On plans from now until June

From now until June, we will observe the players; we will have a lot of talks also with players. We hope that key players from this team will come back to have a strong squad in June and then we attack again. Like I said we got a lot of answers to a lot of open questions in these two matches. Positive but also negative answers I have to be honest and from there we will go and see like when these seven, eight, nine men who weren’t there today are back, you could have a stronger squad and this stronger squad have a big, big task to beat Mali and Central African Republic.

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