Coach Salisu Yusuf expects his team to use their intelligence to beat impressive Mali in today’s WAFU Cup opening Group A match in Ghana.
-Yusuf After overcoming a determined Sierra Leone Monday night, Nigeria will again take to the pitch by 4pm in Cape Coast against Mali, who sent packing Mauritania 3-1 in their own playoff game. Coach Yusuf watched Mali beat Mauritania and he said he was impressed with their size, strength and aggression, but he believes his team will use their intelligence to go past the Eagles of Bamako.
“We watched Mali beat Mauritania before our own game against Sierra Leone. They have some tall, big players especially in the defence, they are also well organised and are aggressive,” he remarked. “But I expect my team to use their intelligence to outwit them.
“It won’t be an easy game but we are now a lot more settled after how we rushed in for the game against a very confident Sierra Leone team, who wanted to shock us. “We have since had two trainings and that will help us against Mali.” Yusuf was forced to rely on the core of the CHAN Eagles for the playoff against Sierra Leone because his squad to the WAFU Cup had not trained together before they departed for Ghana. “I have had some time to look at the other players here with us and we will see how they fit in for our subsequent matches,” he said.
“The important thing is that we are preparing for CHAN next year in earnest.” Friday Ubong and Peter Eneji, who were not part of the CHAN qualifiers, were introduced in the second half against Sierra Leone with Eneji from champions Plateau United catching the eye with a well-taken goal and great drive on the left side of the attack.