22nd June, 2011
Ex-international and member of the Dream Team V technical crew, Ben Iroha, told ADEBOBOLA ALAWODE in this interview at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, that the U-23 Eagles are ready to play Ghana in this weekendâ€™s Maputo 2011 All Africa Games qualifying football match.
He also spoke on the reverse fixture of the London 20102 Olympic Games qualifier with Tanzania
How will you rate your team against Tanzania?
Despite all odds, we were able to defeat them. Iâ€™m really impressed that our players played to instructions. It was a good win for us.
The Tanzanians came here with the aim of winning, how did you tame them?
I wonâ€™t lie to you, the Tanzanians are a good team but we were better than them. Like you said they arrived Nigeria with the aim of winning but they met a brick wall in our team.
How were you able to tame them?
We had a game plan for them and they also had theirs but I guess ours was superior to theirs. We knew they would want to act as spoilers but thank goodness, we saw them off.
The Tanzanian coach alleged that the Nigerian players were older than they claim, what is your reaction to this allegation?
I donâ€™t want to join issues with him because he does not know what he is talking about. Most of the players in the Dream Team V travel a lot and you donâ€™t expect them to have only one international passport. Some of them have 11 international passport, the records are there for him to check.
It seems you didnâ€™t miss some of your regular players?
There is no way we could have missed some of our players because we have replacements for each position. All the players we have can fit into any department, that’s why we are a winning side.
The Ogbemudia Stadium, seems to be a slaughter slab for your team now?
I donâ€™t agree with you completely. We are a team so wherever we find ourselves we must be able to hold our ground.
What went wrong in the first leg in Dares Salam, Tanzania?
So many things went wrong. They tried to frustrate us in many ways. They sprayed some poisonous substance in our dressing room. Immediately I entered it was as if I was choking so I had to tell the players not to enter because if they do we would have been saying something else.
But you eventually came back with a goal deficit, how did you do it?
We would have won the match but our players lost some clear goal scoring chances and the goal we conceded was a mistake.
The team will have their hands full against perennial arch rivals, Ghana in an All Africa Games qualifier, what is your take on it?
Rivalry or no rivalry, we are going to treat them like every other team, they are not superior to us and I donâ€™t think we should be afraid of them. They have a good team and I know our players are aware of the rivalry that exists between both countries.