Nigeria assistant coach Salisu Yusuf and goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa on Tuesday declared the Super Eagles’ readiness for the Morocco 2018 CHAN semifinal clash against Sudan at Stade de Marrakech on Wednesday.
South Africa 2014 bronze medallist Nigeria fought back from a one-goal deficit to beat a stubborn Angola 2-1 after extra-time in the quarterfinals on Sunday to set up the semifinal date with Sudan’s Falcons, who had defeated Zambia 1-0 on Saturday. And Salisu, who faces injury concerns going into today’s encounter, says his team will not underestimate their North African minnows.
The former Kano Pillars manager, who is in charge of the CHAN assignment, ruled Sunday Faleye out of the clash, with Orji Kalu and winger Peter Eneji struggling to be fit.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Salisu said he and his players had their sights set on the final.
“We are ready to do the job,” cafonline.com quoted him as saying.
“We are focused and will work hard to reach the final. We made three changes in the last game due to injuries, and some players have been ruled out for the Sudan game. Sunday Faleye is out, and we are still assessing Orji Kalu and Eneji Moses.”
The former Enyimba coach added, “The most important thing is not how many goals you score, but the goal that pushes the team on. We have respect for Sudan, and for them to hold Morocco (tipped as favourites) to a 0-0 draw, means they are a good side. This means we have to work harder.”
Ezenwa, who is the captain of the team, urged his teammates to raise their game against the Falcons.
He said, “We have to work together to make our country proud. I believe with determination and focus, we can do our best against Sudan.
“We are hoping for a victory against Sudan to reach the final.”
Sudan captain Mohamed Taher said they will be firing on all cylinders against Nigeria at Stade de Marrakech to reach the last stage.
He said, “We are determined to carry on with our impressive run at the tournament so far.Nigeria will be difficult, and for such games, you have to be physically and psychologically ready.
“We are not under any form of pressure. However, we are determined to prove to all that we are not in the semi-finals by chance.”