Super Eagles B coach Salisu Yusuf has paid glowing tributes to his players ahead of their WAFU Cup of Nations clash with Eagles of Mali on Thursday.
Barely 24 hours after arriving in Ghana for the sub-regional tournament, Nigeria defeated Sierra Leone 2-0 on Monday courtesy of late strikes from Osas Okoro and Peter Eneji.
The Super Eagles will now face Mali in their first group game at 4pm (Nigerian time) on Thursday. The Eagles of Mali also required two late strikes from Moussa Kone before downing a resilient Mauritanian side in their elimination game on Monday.
“The players have done very well. They showed great character to survive our first game. All of them played league games on Saturday and travelled long distances so it was difficult for them to recover,” said Yusuf.
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The team have since settled in their Cape Coast base and have trained together on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon in preparations for the game against Mali.
Nigeria was earlier touted to face hosts Ghana in their first group game but the organizers announced a change of fixtures, necessitated by the bringing forward of Nigeria’s first game. The adjustment means the Super Eagles will face Mali, with Ghana still to come in their final group game on Monday.
“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,” averred Salisu.
“We have since had two trainings and that will help us against Mali,” he added.
Hosts Ghana will face Guinea in the group’s other game at 6pm (GMT) on Thursday night. The competition runs till September 24 with the overall winner claiming the $100,000 prize money.