The African Nations Championship has reached its semi final stage with Nigeria facing Sudan while Morocco hosts Libya in the other fixture. At this level, it is safe to say the boys have been separated from the men actually.
Both Nigeria and Sudan are looking to progress as the Coaches and captain expressed at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, in Marrakech.
What the coaches are saying:
The Sudanese Assistant coach Burian Tia was there with the team captain, he expressed optimism and dismissed talks that his side were merely lucky to have won the tie. “It’s not a matter of being lucky, Tia said. “We had our plans but we performed better. And our plans were carried out, though they played very well but we were more prepared.”
“I think that Nigeria is one of the most advanced teams in Africa. It will be a different game from the previous matches, but we will do our best to emerge victors and advance to the final.”
Responding, Coach Salisu Yusuf: “Having gotten to this level, we must respect the Sudanese. We will remain humble and work hard to get the best against them.”
“They have conceded one and scored three goals and we have scored six goals and conceded two. So in terms of being profligate in front of goal I disagree. We have created chances and scored more goals than them so in terms of that we are confident.”
On The Venue: Sudan had had a fore taste of the Marrakech Stadium in their quarter final match against Zambia which they won by a lone goal. The coach however refused to agree that his side has an advantage stating that the playing turf is the same, but the quality of play is what determines the winner in the end. On the other hand, Nigeria will be playing in Marrakech for the first time in the championship having conquered in Tangier and Agadir.
Coach Salisu Yusuf revealed at Tuesday’s presser that his side is rocked by injury by injury crisis but has the depth to continue the journey. He informed that Sunday Faleye has been ruled out of the tournament, Daniel James is not available for selection, Kalu Orji is facing late fitness test while Ifeanyi Ifeanyi is also doubtful and Peter Eneji yet to be passed 100% fit.
On his part, Sudanese coach mentioned that the selection process for his team was thorough, hence, they have got good replacements for injured players.