Nigeria assistant coach Salisu Yusuf has urged the Super Eagles to work as a team in their Morocco African Nations Championship (CHAN)opening game against Rwanda at Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier on Monday.
The fifth edition of the tournament, which is exclusively for players plying their trade in their own domestic leagues, kicked off on Saturday with hosts Morocco hammering Mauritania 4-0 in Casablanca.
The clash between Nigeria and Rwanda kicks off at 7.30pm Moroccan time (8.30pm in Nigeria).
The match will be preceded by the group opener between Libya and Equatorial Guinea beginning from 5.30pm (Nigeria time).
Salisu, who is in charge of the CHAN assignment, believes the Eagles can win the tournament for the first time this year if they work well together.
The former Kano Pillars manager called for the players to take advantage of the championship to play their way into the Russia 2018 World Cup squad, insisting any outstanding players have a chance to be on the plane to the world’s football showpiece.
“We are not here just for CHAN. Everyone is thinking of the World Cup as well,” Salisu told thenff.com on Sunday.
“For the players, they have a massive opportunity to play their way into the big one in Russia.
“However, at every opportunity, we have made it clear to the boys that they must work as a team. If they win the tournament, the chances of some of the players making the squad to Russia will be high. No man can clap with only one hand. Teamwork is key for this business.”
The German said, “CHAN is a major competition and opportunity for us to take another look at the home boys. There could be some of them who will convince the coaching staff that they can fight for places in the A team.”
Nigeria’s best performance in the tournament is a third-place finish in 2014.