Salami’s absence no big deal, says Eagles’ official
Gbolahan Salami’s absence from CHAN Eagles’ squad to the 2016 African Nation s Championship (CHAN) slated for kick off in Rwanda next year will not hurt Nigeria’s chances of winning the competition, the team’s spokesman, Toyin Ibitoye has said.
According to a supertsport.com report, the CHAN Eagles’ captain and Warri Wolves striker, Salami, is one of two players expected to miss the competition due to their impending movement to European clubs. The other player is FC Taraba Captain, Usman Mohammed.
However, the former 3SC marksman is the only player missing in the Super Eagles CHAN team preparing for the forthcoming biannual football showpiece next month in Kigali, Rwanda.
Salami is said to be keenly interested in securing foreign club than participating in the championship designed for African players in their domestic leagues.
Ibitoye said the likely absence of the strongly built goal poacher would prove to be a rare visa for his replacements to shine at the upcoming CHAN.
“It appears Gbolahan Salami does not want to go to CHAN in Kigali, Rwanda rather interested in European deal we can only wish him good luck in his quest for greener pasture elsewhere.
However, Eagles have moved on in their preparations for the upcoming CHAN and his absence will be an opportunity for other players to step up, excel and become known.
“Salami became known on a day so it’s up to other players in camp to grab the rare chance to prove themselves.
“The players response to training has been excellent we just hope and pray they will be able to reproduce the performance on match day.
The assistant coaches have been doing a good job in the absence of head coach, Sunday Oliseh who is constantly in touch with the team and well as dishing out instructions regularly,” Ibitoye told supersport.com.
Ibitoye discloses that Sharks’ defender, Chima Akas, is recovering rapidly from the slight knock he picked in training.
“Akas reported to camp on Sunday due to poor weather on Saturday contrary to impression in the public that he is still missing.
“Akas picked a slight knock but he is doing very well at the moment so he remains a key member of the Eagles CHAN team,” said Ibitoye.
The bronze winners at the last edition of the competition are expected to depart the nation’s shore on Saturday for Pretoria, South Africa where they are billed to engage Cote d’Ivoire, Angola, among others in build-up matches.
The Eagles will open their CHAN campaign on January 18 against their Nigerien opposite at the Stade Regional Nyamirambo, Kigali before taking on other Group C opponents, Tunisia and Guinea on January 22 and 26 respectively.