NFF denies recalling suspended Salisu Yusuf
• Insists Amapakabo still in charge of U-23, CHAN Eagles
• Affirms commitment to national teams
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has denied recalling to any of the national teams the suspended Super Eagles’ Coach, Salisu Yusuf, whose one-year ban from all football related matters expired recently. There was controversy yesterday over the fate of the coach, who was caught on camera accepting cash from undercover reporters last year. In the video, Yusuf was seen accepting to receive some money in exchange for the invitation of two players, including Kano Pillars captain, Rabiu Alli, to the 2018 CHAN team then going for the African Nations Championship in Morocco. Alli eventually made that team.
Following the incident, the NFF Ethics and Disciplinary Committee found Yusuf guilty of breaching the terms of his contract and subsequently banned him for a year with a $50,000 fine.Yesterday, NFF’s Head of Communications Department, Ademola Olajire, said in a release that the federation had ‘noted’ that Yusuf had served his ban, adding that the board would meet later to deliberate on his future.
However, a top official of the NFF, who pleaded anonymity, also told The Guardian that Salisu would not come near any of the national teams until further notice, adding that the federation viewed his offence as a serious issue, which would not be waved away so soon.He affirmed that Coach Imama Amapakabo would still head the U-23 national team, as well as the CHAN team preparing for the WAFU Cup and the CHAN 2020 qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the NFF has congratulated the national U-23 team for qualifying for the third African U23 Cup of Nations after a 5-0 mauling of their Sudanese counterparts, just as it noted the impressive streak of the national teams in qualifying for major competitions.NFF General Secretary, Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, said yesterday that the Federation was elated at the performance of the U-23 boys, not only for the high score win, but also for the steel, savvy and smoothness with which the performance was delivered.
In a statement made available to The Guardian, Mohammed said, “The 5-0 victory was very sweet, but what made it sweeter was the way it was delivered. And from that game and from the delivery of the Super Eagles in the friendly with Ukraine later that night which ended 2-2, we can confidently say that the future of the Nigeria senior team is bright.“We had a very young team out there in Ukraine as a result of the forced withdrawal of some of the old breed, yet they delivered a heartwarming performance that everyone was proud of.”
Mohammed noted that the qualification of the U23 boys for the Olympics qualifying tournament in Egypt meant that none of the National Teams had failed to qualify for a major tournament in the past 18 months.“The last Nigeria team to fail to qualify for a major competition was the U17 girls, when they lost to Cameroon on the away goal rule in January 2018, in the final qualifying round for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.
“Since then, the Super Eagles have played at the FIFA World Cup in Russia; the Falconets have played at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France; the Golden Eaglets have won the WAFU Cup in Niger Republic; the Super Falcons have played at and won the Women AFCON in Ghana and; the Supersand Eagles have qualified for the FIFA Beach World Cup from the African finals in Egypt.
“The Flying Eagles have qualified for the FIFA U20 World Cup and played at the finals in Poland; the Golden Eaglets have qualified for the FIFA U17 World Cup taking place in Brazil later this year and; the Super Eagles have played at the biggest-ever AFCON and came back home with the bronze medals.”The NFF scribe assured that the Football House is alive to its responsibilities and will ensure that the teams keep shining and bringing honour to the country.
He added: “Apart from the U23 AFCON in Egypt, we have the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil; the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay and; the WAFU Nations Cup in Senegal. We also have the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and the CHAN 2020 qualifiers, and the Super Falcons are in the race for the ticket to next year’s Olympics women’s football tournament.“We have all these matches and championships in focus. Our objective is to ensure quality preparation for each of the teams involved in order that they will be good ambassadors of our nation both on and off the pitches in all these programmes.”