Home-based Super Eagles coach, Salisu Yusuf, is still upbeat about his side’s chances of qualifying for the next round despite playing a goalless draw with Rwanda in their opening Group C game of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Monday night.
Yusuf stated during his post match interview that the result was not a setback but rather a wake up call for his side who must take their chances in subsequent games.
The Home Eagles were denied thrice by the crossbar in the first half of the draw.
“Generally, it is not a setback because we created chances and we couldn’t score but if we keep creating chances and hopefully take them, we can beat any team in this tournament,” Yusuf said.
Nigeria face Group C leaders and 2014 winners of the tournament, Libya in their next game on Friday. Libya defeated Equatorial Guinea 3-0 in the group’s other match on Monday.
The Home Eagles are in their third appearance at the tournament and have never reached the finals of the competition with a third place finish their best.
They crashed out of the group stages of the last edition in Rwanda in 2016.
Home-based Super Eagles coach, Salisu Yusuf, is expected to name his final 23-man squad for the African Nations Championship next week ahead of the team’s departure for a training tour in Rabat, Morocco on January 2nd.
The Super Eagles who won the Nigeria Professional Football League invitational tournament in Kano on Sunday, are currently in Abuja for the second phase of their preparation for the CHAN.
Yusuf named a 30-man squad for the NPFL invitational and extended a late invitation to Nasarawa United goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso on Wednesday.
“We will be leaving for Rabat, Morocco on January 2nd for the final stage of our preparation for CHAN 2018,” a reliable camp source informed newsmen.
“Before then, the final 23-man list for the competition will be made known to the public. All things being equal, the final list will be out next week.”
The home Eagles who had a disappointing showing at the last edition of the CHAN in 2016 in Rwanda, exiting in the group stage, will face the same team (Rwanda) in their first Group C game in Tangier on January 15.
2014 champions Libya and debutants Equatorial Guinea are the other teams in the group.
The competition will run from January 13 to February 4 in Morocco.
The Super Eagles B have moved camp to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for the next phase of preparations for the 2018 African Nations Championship taking place in Morocco from 13th January 2018.
The first phase of preparations ended in Kano on Sunday with the team emerging victorious at the NPFL Invitational Super Six Tournament after outscoring CAF Champions League representatives MFM FC of Lagos 3-2 in the final. In earlier matches, they drew 0-0 with League champions Plateau United and pipped two –time African champions Enyimba FC 1-0.
Plateau United of Jos as well as other Nigerian flag-bearers n the continent, Enyimba of Aba and Akwa United of Uyo, alongside the host city’s beloved Kano Pillars took part in the tourney.
Immediately after Sunday’s win, Coach Salisu Yusuf told thenff.com that preparations would move into the second phase where some of the lapses seen in the team would be corrected and some fresh players called up.
“I am very impressed with the team. We did not have any elaborate preparation before the Super Six tournament and yet these boys raised their game, improved with every match and won the trophy. I congratulate them but this is the beginning of real hard work for us.
“We will begin the next phase of preparations immediately. We want to also see some new players in certain positions and correct some mistakes we made during some of our games in Kano while strengthening and consolidating on our strong areas.”
The Eagles will be camped at the Bolton White Hotels and Apartments for what promises a more intensive phase of training before they jet out to Morocco in the first week of January.
Following Kenya’s loss of the rights to host CHAN 2018 football tournament, Mr Musa Talle, FCT FA Chairman has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to consider hosting the games instead.
Talle made the call in a media interview, saying hosting the gamees would generate huge revenue for the Nigeria, stressing that “Nigeria can go for CHAN hosting right, which will go a long way in improving our economy. It would also improve the welfare of Nigerian youths.”
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) recently stripped Kenya of hosting rights after considering the report of inspection team which was not satisfied with Kenya’s ability to fix the designated four venues for the event before the championship.
Only one of the four venues is ready for the 16-nation football event slated for Jan. 12 to Feb. 4, 2018.