Journalism in the service of society

Yusuf promises to strengthen Olympic Eagles squad after victory over Tanzania

Olympic Eagles head coach Salisu Yusuf will add new players to the squad for their subsequent games following their progress to the next round of qualifiers for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Nigerian team defeated Tanzania 2-0 in Ibadan yesterday to advance 3-1 on aggregate and will face either Uganda or Guinea in the final qualifying round for the tournament, which will be held in Morocco next year.

“It has not been easy putting the team together. The players are good but they lacked match fitness,” Yusuf told his post-match press conference at the Lekan Salami Stadium.

“We had to build them to a good level. I believe the team will continue to develop. There is progress in the team.

“It’s all about team building. There was no connection at a stage. How many days did we converge? It is not easy building the team. We won the game and that’s most important.

“We have some players not in this group but they will be coming in future. All the players are important; we use players according to their strengths.”

Yusuf admitted that his team made heavy weather of the game despite being overwhelming favourites, but he promised improvement.

“The first half wasn’t easy because of the weather. They were very compact and often hit us on the counter,” he noted.

“Our build-up was slow and we found it difficult penetrating. We had to step up our circulation and the ball moved well.”

It was the first time a national team was playing in Ibadan since 1994, and Yusuf said his team enjoyed the Oyo State capital.

“Ibadan has been great for us. We appreciate the town. Ibadan is our home,” he added.

The U-23 AFCON will be used as the qualifying tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games men’s football event.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times