We will not underrate Luxembourg, says Yusuf
Super Eagles’ Interim Coach, Salisu Yusuf, believes there are no more minnows in international football hence his wards will approach today’s friendly against Luxembourg as if it were the World Cup final.
The Super Eagles will take on the Red Lions of Luxembourg at the Stade Josy Barthel this evening. It is the final game of their two-match tour of Europe and the boys want to continue the good run after their 1-0 defeat of Mali in France on Friday.
Luxembourg have scored only four goals in their last 10 matches, whilst conceding 20. But Coach Yusuf said his boys would not under–rate the Europeans at the Stade Josy Barthel.
“There are no longer small teams in international football. You could get a sucker punch if you under –estimate any team. We will go out there and play to win,” Yusuf said.
The team spent longer than the 40 minutes that was earmarked for Sunday’s first training session, shaking off travel fatigue and generally enjoying the atmosphere under a light rain shower.
Yesterday morning, defensive midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, arrived the team’s Alvisse Parc Hotel camp in Luxembourg City, bringing the number of players in camp to 21. Midfielder Babatunde Michael, who flew to Morocco after the clash with Mali to be on duty for his club, Raja Casablanca, was being expected in Luxembourg City last night.
Former U-17 and U-20 star Ndidi, who helped his Belgian club, KRC Genk to qualify for the UEFA Europa League following a 5-1 defeat of Charleroi on Sunday, could start in midfield alongside stand-in captain, Ogenyi Onazi, and Shehu Abdullahi.
Coach Yusuf and assistants are also likely to start Turkey–based defender, Kenneth Omeruo, in central defence, and South Africa–based goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, may start in place of Carl Ikeme, as the coaches intend to take a look at all the players in camp.
Ikeme, Musa Mohammed, Kingsley Madu, Leon Balogun, William Troost Ekong, Shehu Abdullahi, Onazi Ogenyi, Etebo Oghenekaro, Moses Simon, Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi started the game against Mali, with Gbenga Arokoyo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Lawal, Aminu Umar and Brown Ideye coming on in the second half.
Luxembourg, coached by Luc Holtz, will rely on the fast breaks of winger Daniel Alves da Mota and the potency of Stefano Bensi in attack. Bensi scored 21 goals in the Luxembourg Premier League in the just–ended season. But there is also David Turpel, who netted 26 goals in 32 matches for Fola Esch in the Luxembourg top flight.
The Red Lions have won only two of their last 10 matches, beating Macedonia 1-0 in a Euro 2016 qualifier in September 2015 and Greece by the same margin in a friendly two months later.
Their last match, a friendly against Albania in March this year, ended in a 2-0 defeat for the Lions.
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