CHAN Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf says preparation for the Continental show billed for Kenya in January should go beyond mere training but also include competitive and shape up matches to test the players all round readiness.
Yusuf who gave the players in camp blanket approval to go and play for their teams this weekend said playing competitive matches for their clubs is as a matter of fact part of the training for the forthcoming championship adding that Nigeria is determined to post a better outing in Nairobi.
“We are in camp yes but we need to combine training with competitive matches which is why we released them to go and play for their clubs this weekend. It is all part of the training and shape up for the forthcoming championship. Don’t forget that they are professionals, the more the play and train, the better the get,” he enthused
Yusuf who was part of the Sunday Oliseh led technical crew that exited the championship in the quarterfinals at the 2016 edition in Rwanda, insists that Super Eagles stand a good chance of re-taking the driver’s seat in African football, describing the period the country has failed to measure up as one of those temporary setbacks associated with the highly competitive game.
Yusuf only few days back, named Ifeanyi Uba safehand Ikechukwu Ezenwa who incidentally was in goal for the Eagles in Rwanda, captain of the team.
Eagles will tackle Squirrels of Benin Republic at the Stade de l’Amitié in the first leg of the qualifiers on August 11 with the return leg billed the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano a week later.
The Squirrels made a tomfoolery of permutations by some analysts that they will be blown away by the Hawks of Togo, when they beat the Hawks 9-8 on penalties. They had earlier held Hawks to a 1-1 Lomé before consolidating at home.
While some soccer fans in Nigeria have expressed optimism that the Eagles will fly over the Squirrels, others however warned against treating them with kid gloves to avoid what they have dubbed unexpected upset.