Nigeria: Yusuf Faces Selection Headaches As Eagles Battle Sudan for Final Ticket

Photo: CAF
Chan 2018 - Nigeria.
31 January 2018

As Nigeria's Home-based Eagles get set to take on Sudan in one of the semi final games of the ongoing 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Marrakech, Morocco this evening, chief handler of the team, Salisu Yusuf, is faced with selection headaches.

Camp sources confided in THISDAY from the north African country that with Sunday Faleye who dislocated his arm in the bruising battle with Angola in the quarter final clash in Tanger last Sunday ruled out of the game and Daniel Itodo another doubtful, Coach Yusuf is equally apprehensive of the trio of Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Kalu Orji and Peter Eneji.

Ifeanyi did not play in the game against Angola due to the groin injury he was nursing, Kalu has knee injury while Eneji too has another form of ailment that is giving the technical crew fears.

"We are only hoping that by Wednesday morning when the medics take another look at these players there will be good news for us," observed the top NFF official on telephone from Morocco last night.

Sudan's Falcons of Jediane caused something of an upset with a 1-0 win over Zambia in the quarter-finals of the 2018 CHAN at the weekend.

Zambia's Chipolopolo with the best attractive football on parade at the tournament started the game in Marrakech promisingly with some early chances for Augustine Mulenga and Kondwani Mtonga,

However, Sudan took the lead just after the half-hour mark as Maki Bakhit Saifeldin turned debutant John Mwengani to score the only goal of the game and a ticket to the semis to face Nigeria.

But Yusuf and his wards who endured 120 minutes of punishing football before over coming the challenge posed by the Angolans are not deluding themselves of a tea party this evening against the Sudanese.

"Yusuf is a very good team. We are expecting a tough game on Wednesday evening," observed the former Ranch Bees player in his preview of the semi clash in Marrakesh.

He admitted that for the team to have only conceded just one goal and scored three goals speak volume of what to expect.

The Sudanese have only conceded one and scored three goals so far in the tournament.

The Home-based Eagles gaffer however remains very hopeful of progressing to the final to improve on Nigeria's best outing of a bronze in the competition.

Yusuf insisted that if the game drags into shoot out, his wards are ready to surmount the hurdle and make Nigerians proud.

"We are ready and prepared for a penalty shootout. We have not reached this stage by looking down on any team, and we will not start now. The Final of the African Nations Championship beckons and we will go out there with all that we have got," he pledged.

Yusuf and assistants Imama Amapakabo and Alloy Agu have toiled day and night to take Nigeria to only her second CHAN semi final in history.

With both sides having previously met on 13 occasions, Eagles enjoy an advantage of seven wins, four draws and have only lost twice to the Falcons.

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