Nigeria’s coach Berti Vogts maintained a calm mien Sunday, as he dismissed fears he is under pressure ahead of Monday’s match between his team, the Super Eagles, and the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the Nations Cup Group B opener in Sekondi, Ghana.
“Why should I be under pressure to perform tomorrow (Monday)? I don’t understand why people keep asking me this question when I have experienced situations like this both as player and in my years as a coach,” the 61-year-old German said in response to questions from journalists at a crowded press conference here.
“As a player, I have played in six major international tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup, and in my present dispensation as a coach, having attended five major tournaments is an indication that I can handle any situation I find myself, and the matches against Cote d’ Ivoire and the Eagles of Mali are no exception,” he said.
Soccer pundits have tipped the Ivorians to win the match, raising fears that the Super Eagles and their handlers would be under undue pressure on Monday.
But Vogts said his team was capable of tackling the star-studded Ivorian team, before taking on the Squirrels of Benin and the Eagles of Mali, the other teams in the group.
“Other teams parade stars which is one of the qualities of having a strong team, but what I have at the moment is an assemblage of players who are not deficient in their area of specialty and this is all I want.
“From goalkeeping to the defence and the midfield and the attack, (the team is) formidable because I have several options in my team selection, just as the players are in good frame of mind to justify the huge investment (of) the Nigerian Government,” the coach added.