21st September, 2011
Â The performance of Flying Eagles at the just concluded FIFA World Youth Championship held in Colombia earned John Obuh to remain the chief coach of Flying Eagles. He spoke about his experience in FIFA World Cup and other issues with SUNDAY AKINTOYE
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, recently retained you as Chief Coach of Flying Eagles, what is your take on this?
I give God the glory for all what he has done in my life. NFF retained me because they have faith in me, so I am using this opportunity to express my gratitude to the NFF board members for giving me the opportunity to serve my fatherland again.
What are your programmes for the Flying Eagles?
It is too early for me to have any genuine programme for the Flying Eagles. I just came back from FIFA World Youth Championship held in Colombia. I can only start my programme if the NFF asks me to do so.
Nigerians were disappointed when your team lost to France in the quarter final of the championship, what went wrong?
My players did their best but unfortunately, luck was against us. France were a better side but I was disappointed that my players could not take their chances which cost us at the end of the day.
Can we say your match against France was your toughest match?
Not at all. Our match against England was tougher. It was tough for me because we had problems scoring against the team. We created so many chances than England but we managed to score a goal at the regulation time. We were lucky to survive the English team in the second round.
You have coached Nigeria both in U-17 FIFA World Cup and U-20 FIFA World Cup, what have gained from the competitions ?
Honestly, the two championships exposed my coaching prowess. It was easier for me when I handled Golden Eaglets at the U-17 FIFA World Cup than when I took the Flying Eagles to Colombia. In Colombia, I garnered more experience from coaches who I believe know better than me. For our next matches, I studied the way our opponents play and focused more on their star players who I believe can give my players problems when we meet.
Your performances in the FIFA championships show that you are ready for a bigger job in the nearest future?
That is the prayer for every coach who wants to succeed in his career. No coach wants to remain stagnant. I have been coaching for 17 years and I thank God that all what I dreamt in the past come to reality. I have achieved some of my dreams, but I still have a long way to go in my coaching career in Nigeria.
If you are invited to coach the SuperEagles in the nearest future, are you ready for the job?
That is a dream of every coach. When my time comes to coach the senior national team, I will accept the offer.
Soccer loving Nigerians are looking forward to the Super Eagles’ last Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Syli Nationale of Guinea slated for Abuja next month, what are your expectations?
I donâ€™t expect anything short of victory against Guinea. Everybody knows the task ahead so I expect Eagles to go all out and demolish the visiting Guinea. The match wonâ€™t be easy despite the fact we are playing at home. All what our players need is to remain focused and get a resounding victory at regulation time.