Onuora:”We lost to a better side”
It was a homecoming of sorts for Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia coach, Iffy Onuora, when his side played the Super Eagles of Nigeria in an Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match on March 27 at the National Stadium, Abuja.
Onuora, albeit born in Scotland, has Nigerian parents but the former Swindon Town manager was not given a warm welcome by his compatriots in Abuja as the Eagles soared to a 4-0 win, tearing the Antelopes apart with reckless abandon.
Before the encounter, Onuora had expressed optimism on his arrival in Nigeria. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am a professional and I am here (Nigeria) with my team to get a good result,Ã¢â‚¬Â he had said.
But being defeated 4-0 is not a good result for any coach. The defeat means Ethiopia still remains in third place after three matches with three points.
The east Africans had lost their first game at home to leaders Syli Nationale of Guinea before Onuora led them to a surprise 1-0 win in Madagascar, who are last on the log with just a point.
Onuora aired his views on the game against Nigeria during the post match conference:
Cafonline.comÃ‚Â :Ã‚Â DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you think this match will put your team under pressure in the remaining matches of the qualifiers for the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, there is pressure everywhere when you lose games in football; there will always be questions from the administrators. We fell short of what we hoped to achieve today (March 27) but that should not be much of a worry. You must remember that we played against big stars like Mikel Obi, (Victor) Anichebe and Osaze (Odemwingie) and these are players who play in the English Premier League. We lost but that is the nature of football.
Cafonline.com:Ã‚Â So how are you looking forward to the next qualifying games in Group B?
Iffy Onuora:”We still have three more games to play in the qualifiers including two home games. With the situation now, we are down but not out. We can still make an impact and create upsets in the remaining games of the qualifiers.
Cafonline.com:Ã‚Â What is your assessment of your side? Would you say they put up a good performance regardless of the 4-0 defeat to the Eagles?
Iffy OnuoraÃ‚Â :”I am proud of my team and I will say they put up a good fight despite the defeat.Ã‚Â And that is the symbol of Ethiopian football. The Ethiopian league is one that features a lot of players with a background for big challenges like this. Very few of the players there have ever moved to Europe from there compared to what you have in this part of the continent.Ã‚Â Apart from my captain, others came in from home.
Cafonline.com:Ã‚Â How would you rate the Nigerian team and which particular player actually impressed you?
Iffy OnuoraÃ‚Â :”The Super Eagles have a lot of quality players. They had a rich bench with great players and you could see that the introduction of players like Osaze Odemwingie and Ike Uche actually unsettled us. But I will single out Joel Obi because he is a wonderful player and I believe he is going to get better with time. He is such a great gift to Nigeria and he really impressed me. The Nigerian side we played against are better than Guinea who beat us at home.
Cafonline.com:Ã‚Â Do you agree that you lost to a better side?
Iffy Onuora:”We lost to a better side and I must say the early goal destabilised us and we found it difficult to recover from that. I guess they studied our team and they ensured that we did not play our normal football.