FIFA U17 World Cup: We don't want stars in our team, all players are equal here - Niger coach hails historic win over Korea DPR
The second match in group D was not as star-studded as the Brazil vs Spain match that preceded it, but the football crazy fans of Kerala even had supporters for Korea DPR leader Kim Jong-un and his team. However, it wasn't the Asians who had the last laugh as Niger pulled up the biggest tree so far at the FIFA U17 World Cup yesterday.
The debutantes made history by winning their first-ever match in a FIFA World Cup event and kept up to their tag of giant killers. Niger coach Ismaila Tiemoko thanked the fans for the warm welcome the team received and added that the whole country is happy with the win.
The match saw a lot of injuries, but both the managers confirmed that the injuries were not serious and will work hard on recovery before the next match. "The climate here is not the same as in our country, here it is hot and humid and we have to adapt to it," said Tiemoko.
On the other hand, Korea DPR coach Kim Yong-Su rued his team's missed chances, "We had a lot of goal scoring opportunity but couldn't convert our chances to goals, we will work had in the remaining matches." Kim Yong-Su reckoned that Niger were a very strong team to face.
Ismaila commented that the game is still open for everybody in the group and we cannot compare the senior team with the U-17 team as it is of different age category. Niger are attending a World Cup event for the first time in the history and the people of the country are very proud of this team.
On the match, Ismaila said the team had created a lot of chances and could have easily won 3-0 but the players lacked experience which reflected in the failure to convert the chances. On Niger playing the physical game, the coach said that football is a contact game unlike some other sports like volleyball and lack of experience has reflected in the more no of fouls and injuries. He added that this team is the future of Niger football and will prepare for the 2019 U-20 African Nations cup which is hosted by Niger.
The players who are part of the Niger U-17 team are from different part of the country and some of the players even don't have proper clothes to wear and come from poor backgrounds. Ismaila told that the people in Niger only knows football through the national team and there is no national league or proper competition in the country for the players to have practice. The sports council is giving full support to the team and are keeping the team for the future of the country's football. The council will also support the team for scouting talented players from the country, He also added that two years from now, Airtel is sponsoring a national championship for the U-17 category.
Ismaila told the press "We do not want stars in our team all are equal in the team". All the players are concentrated on their work and are working hard for the competition. The players always listen and learn to the technical staff and want to improve in the game.
Ismaila ended the press conference by saying that not getting practice match is a problem for the team but the game is changing in the country. "Football was not the same in our time, even finding a good football was difficult at that time but now it is improving."