CHAN 2018: Super Eagles Will Not Underrate Sudan - Salisu Yusuf
Nigeria made it to the semifinal of the on-going Championship for African Nations (CHAN) despite some poor play, but the stage is bigger now, and they cannot afford to be complacent.
This is the mindset of coach Salisu Yusuf, who has noted that his side will not underrate Sudan in Wednesday’s semifinal clash.
Sudan has conceded just one goal so far at the tournament, meaning Nigeria’s attack led by Tony Okpotu must wake up, convert chances and be more purposeful.
“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.
“Sudan is a very good team. We have followed their progress and know what to take to the pitch on Wednesday. I have confidence that we will do Nigeria proud,” said the former Nigeria international.
Nigeria’s best–ever outing at the CHAN remains a third-place finish in South Africa four years ago, where a squad coached by Stephen Keshi (of blessed memory) lost to Ghana on penalties in the last four but pipped Zimbabwe to bronze.
Yusuf said: “Reaching the Final alone will mean history for this team. That is why we are focusing on the semifinal match for now. The target is to reach Sunday’s Final in Casablanca, and slug it out with whichever opposition presents itself there.” Hosts Morocco and Libya battle it out in an all –North African first semifinal in Casablanca on Wednesday afternoon.
Yusuf and the Super Eagles have to devise strategies to out –think and out –manoeuvre an austere Sudanese defence that has conceded only one goal in four previous matches, coming out unscathed against prolific host nation Morocco and Zambia.
On the other hand, the Eagles have netted six times in their previous four matches, coming from behind in their last two games, and an interesting encounter awaits at the Grande Stade Marrakech as from 8.30pm Nigeria time on Wednesday.
“We are highly motivated for this match. We have received our monies and the spirit is very high in the team. Let’s go there,” goalkeeper and skipper Ikechukwu Ezenwa said at Tuesday’s pre –match press conference.
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