Q & A with Coach Zachariassen
Coach Kjetil Zachariassen addressed the media after Thursday’s training session at the Baba Yara Stadium ahead of Sunday’s CAF Champions League second leg tie against Kano Pillars. He took time to answer questions on the team’s preparedness, how he intends to approach the game and the fitness level of the players. Below are excerpts of the press interaction.
Are you looking to change your backline because you conceded three goals in Kano?
Zachariassen: Football is a complex game. You cannot blame one or two players in such situations. You need to blame the [whole] team because it is a chain reaction. If you didn’t lose the ball in midfield, they would not have scored either. We lost concentration and that is it.
Would you say you have a plan to stop Kano Pillars?
Zachariassen: We have always had a plan and that is to play our game. They have come here to destabilise us in front of our spectators and so we want to dictate the game.
The stadium would be filled to capacity. How well have you psyched up your players in terms of the pressure that comes with it, knowing also that most of them are new to the competition?
Zachariassen: They are ready. They are not thinking too much about the game. We [the technical team] are also not thinking about the game. We are here to play our game and also do our thing. The players are not trained to do anything else either.
How many players are you missing for this game?
Zachariassen: We have everybody.
Are you looking to maintain the same backline or would make changes?
Zachariassen: I have not decided yet. Everybody is fit to play. Everybody can play.
How is Songne Yacouba?
Zachariassen: Yacouba just started training. He would not be available for this match.
Kano Pillars’ coach says he is here to win. What do you say to that?
Zachariassen: We are here to play our game. They will try to play their game plan as we would also do ours. There is therefore nothing [new] about that.
Are you under pressure?
Zachariassen: The pressure is what we put on ourselves; how we perform. If we can perform to about 90 percent, then the results would be positive.
What have you done to preventing the team from conceding a goal or more?
Zachariassen: I have done nothing new than we normally do at training. We are just here to be 90 plus focused. The lack of it was the problem in Nigeria. We lost concentration for ten minutes and that was it.
Godfred Asiamah was injured on Wednesday. Is he fit for this game?
Zachariassen: Godfred has no problem.
How do you expect the players to react in your first competitive match at home?
Zachariassen: This is a dream for everybody; to play for this club in front of the spectators. The tradition here is an honour.