Nigeria U-17 Coach John Obuh: My Team Suffered Stage Fright

A nervous first half almost cost hosts Nigeria the match against Germany, according to coach John Obuh.

Nigeria under-17 coach, John Obuh, has admitted that his team suffered from stage fright in their opening Group A match of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria against Germany at the weekend.

Host and defending champions Nigeria had to come back from three goals down to pull a sensational 3-3 draw with the European champions at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday.
“Actually, it was a difficult game for my players the way they started. These are young players with little exposure. This is the very first time they will play at such a big stadium, so it was a little bit difficult for them," said Obuh, who saw his team go down 2-0 by the first half.

“There was tactical indiscipline on their part in the first half that was why we conceded  those goals."

He added:“I have always said it that the first match of any competition is always the most difficult one. I believe by the second match we will surely be better."

Obuh's German counterpart, Marco Pezzaiuoli, disclosed that a second-half red card against his defender, Robert Labus, turned the game on its head.

“We were too passive after the red card the game became more difficult for us and a good Nigerian team took control," said Pezzaiuoli.

“Also, before this game some of my players were tired, some were sick and had malaria fever. So in the end they became very tired and couldn’t wrap up the game the way they started. But I believe we had a good game in this our first match of the World Cup."

On Tuesday, Nigeria tackle Honduras and Germany take on Argentina in continuation of Group A of the Under-17 World Cup.

Samm Audu,