Home based Super Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf has hinted at slight alterations to his team when they face Equatorial Guinea in their final group game of the 2018 African Nations Championship in Morocco.
Nigeria go into Tuesday night’s game as favourites to top Group C after a hard-earned victory over Libya in Tangier on Friday. Sunday Faleye’s second half winner shot the team to pole position despite the underperformance of few of their reliable stars.
Team’s top striker Anthony Okpotu has come under criticisms after his displays in the opening games while Rabiu Ali and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi have not been spared. Yusuf while speaking to www.aclsports.com on Monday says it is possible he makes one or two changes to the team.
“The most important thing is to keep your players at their best in their own mentality, attitude and form,” said Salisu.
“So far, the group (of players) that have played the last two games have done well so maybe we will have one or two changes but not much.”
On Okpotu’s performances so far, the former Enyimba coach leapt to the defence of his top man, stating that the Lobi Stars forward gives the team balance and maturity.
“In football, you need to have balance in all the departments of the game and that’s why in the midfield we have the experienced Rabiu (Ali), in attack we have the experience of Okpotu and in defence we have the experience of Orji (Kalu).
“These are experienced players and we give Okpotu the opportunity to play because he gives us that balance and maturity.
“He didn’t score against Libya but he did what we asked him to do well which is defensively not to allow the Libyans play centrally, he did that very well and that’s why sometimes Mustapha (Ibrahim) changes him.”
The young Equatorial Guinean side have exited the tournament having lost their opening two games but Salisu insists his wards will accord them the respect they deserve.
“We are going to give this game its utmost respect.We respect the Guinean team though they’ve been losing but we will give them the respect so that we can fight like we fought the Libyans.”
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Agadir, Morocco