Yusuf upbeat, as Eagles confront Mali in Rouen
It is the first of two international friendly games lined up to prepare the Super Eagles for the forthcoming Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but the team’s interim coach, Salisu Yusuf, sees today’s encounter against Mali as much more than a tune up match.
Yusuf, who assumed the Eagles’ mantle on the exit of Coach Sunday Oliseh, believes today’s match will show the whole world that Nigeria has not lost its lustre despite its recent failings.
Nigeria failed to qualify for next year’s African Nations Cup, while Mali is in the last phase of its march to Gabon. But that is no longer an issue as far as Yusuf is concerned.
He says the Super Eagles will beat Mali at the Stade Robert Diochon in Rouen, France.
Yusuf, who is assisted by Imama Amapakabo and Kennedy Boboye, have worked with a relatively young team in three training sessions but says there is belief in the squad going into the clash with the fellow West Africans.
“Yes, we have had only three training sessions. But they were very good sessions and the team has bonded very well. We expect to go all out even though it is a friendly match.
“We are working with players who have self –belief and there is excellent team spirit,” he said.
Except Turkey-based Kenneth Omeruo and Belgium-based Wilfred Ndidi, who were still being expected as at press time, Yusuf trained with the full compliment of the players he invited for the encounter yesterday.
Among the players are Odion Ighalo, Ogenyi Onazi, Brown Ideye, Carl Ikeme, Alex Iwobi, Abdullahi Shehu, Umar Aminu, Kingsley Madu, Moses Simon, Elderson Echiejile, Leon Balogun, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Musa Muhammed.
Others are Etebo Oghenekaro, Babatunde Michael, Raheem Lawal, Gbenga Arokoyo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Daniel Akpeyi and William Troost Ekong.