Yusuf extracts positives from NPFL Invitational

Super Eagles handler Salisu Yusuf says his players are motivated to do the country proud after a spirited performance earned them a 1-0 win over Enyimba International at the NPFL Invitational Tournament on Friday.

Sunday Faleye’s second half strike from close range proved sufficient to send the Eagles to the final of the tournament.


Yusuf expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance on the evening, but insisted that a whole lot need to be done, before the final selection of a strong squad.

“We made eight changes to the initial squad that played against Plateau United, the essence is to assess our boys and see where they have got strength, so we are work in progress until we find the right team for CHAN in Morocco,” said Yusuf.

Yusuf did not mince words to state that there will be room to accommodate three more players as same number will be dropped after some outstanding performances attracted the eyes of the national team trainer.

“There will be call-up for Tosin Omoyele, who recently moved from Osun United to Plateau United,” Salisu said, adding that “the striker differentiated himself with his quality display of positioning, precision and good control of the ball.”

“He is a player that can put pressure on defenders and equally convert goals, so we will give him the chance to express himself while we will subsequently communicate to you (the press) the other potential invitees after due consultations with my technical bench.”

The soft-spoken manager also expressed willingness to continue with same squad going into the final on Sunday, pointing out goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai as the only possible change to his starting line-up on the last day.

He further stated that the invitational tourney offered his technical team an ample opportunity to see some good players in the league, which eventually prompted a quick rethink to consider some fresh legs.

“This is an experimental ground that yielded a lot of positives for us and I must confess that we were privileged to be here. We have adopted two different patterns, having tried 4-4-2 in our first game and switching to 4-3-3 in this game earned us something better, so it’s an eye opener and we have benefited from this tournament,” he said.

Yusuf also spoke about Akwa United striker Faleye, who scored on his debut. He stated that Faleye proved his worth in the game against Enyimba as battle for places in the team to the CHAN in Morocco continues.

The Super Eagles will now confront MFM FC in the final on Sunday, after the Olukoya Boys played out a 1-1 draw with Kano Pillars to reach the final to progress on superior goals difference from Group B.