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Again, fans restate lack of confidence in Salisu as Olympics Eagles storm Ibadan

By Gowon Akpodonor
12 October 2022   |   3:55 am
As 32 players of the National U-23 team began their camping in Ibadan on Monday for the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Tanzania, some Nigerians have expressed doubt regarding Coach Yusuf Salisu’s ability to deliver the ticket.

As 32 players of the National U-23 team began their camping in Ibadan on Monday for the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Tanzania, some Nigerians have expressed doubt regarding Coach Yusuf Salisu’s ability to deliver the ticket.

Salisu, whose Super Eagles B team were eliminated by Ghana’s Black Galaxies in an African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifying tie on penalties at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, last month, is leading the U-23 team for 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Morocco.

The camp in Ibadan opened yesterday, October 10, and the Nigerian team is expected to prepare for eight days before jetting out on October 18, for the first leg in Dar es Salaam scheduled for the weekend of October 21-23, 2022.

Nigeria will host Tanzania in the second leg at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan, on October 28, 2022.

The analysis on the list of players invited by coach Salisu to the camp in Ibadan was the talking point by sports analysts on radio and television stations, yesterday, with majority of fans calling on the new NFF board to replace Salisu with immediate effect to avoid another embarrassment for the country.

“I don’t see Salisu winning this ticket for Nigeria,” one fan, who gave his name as Victor from VI, said on a radio programme monitored in Lagos yesterday.

Another fan, Oseni from Surulere said: “To me, Salisu lacks the quality of a good coach capable of winning the ticket. He shouldn’t be the head coach of the U-23 Eagles. This is a new NFF board, and I want them to begin well by winning matches. We have suffered enough shocks, and it will be embarrassing to see the U-23 Eagles lose the ticket.”

Some football-loving Nigerians had kicked against the decision by the former NFF executive committee to approve the recommendation of its Technical and Development Sub-Committee for the reappointment of Yusuf Salisu, as the Head Coach of the Super Eagles B (CHAN team), as well as the U-23 (Olympics) team.

To them, the re-appointment of Salisu as coach of both the CHAN Eagles and the Olympics team was a clear indication that the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF did not wish the nation’s football well.

On July 24, 2018, Salisu was seen accepting a cash gift in a video released by BBC Africa following a series of investigations on the state of football in Africa.

Salisu was said to have accepted bribe after two investigative reporters approached him to include two footballers in his squad to the 2018 African Championship (CHAN).

The then NFF board ignored the advise by those Nigerians, who kicked against Salisu’s re-appointment, and the Super Eagles B team paid the price last month in Abuja, losing the CHAN ticket to Ghana.

Apart from failing to qualify the Super Eagles B team for CHAN tournament holding in Algeria, Salisu got relegated from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with Kano Pillars, and he was in Super Eagles’ technical team with Austin Eguavoen that failed to qualify for Qatar 2022 World Cup.