Yusuf: Super-4 Great Opportunity; Wassa, Egbuchulam Good For Eagles

Yusuf: Super-4 Great Opportunity; Wassa, Egbuchulam Good For Eagles

Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU caught up with Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf  at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium Enugu, venue of the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League Super-Four competition. He speaks about his impression of the competition and the Super Eagles' chances of making it  to 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

You have seen four  games in this 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League Super Four competition. How would you rate the standard of the competition so far?

Well, it has been a good competition, the four teams have really played well and I want to commend the coaches for a job well done. Going by what we have seen in this competition, I would say we can look forward to a great season.

Which of the clubs have impressed you the most?

I wouldn't want to mention the name of any club as they have all done well. Rangers for example have played two different teams in their two games, and it shows the depth of their squad.

Wikki Tourists under new coach, (Mohammed Babaganaru) have actually continue from where they stopped last season by playing the same attacking football, while Rivers United have also impressed me too.

They did well in their first  game against Rangers but couldn't convert the chances they created, but they corrected the mistakes in the second game against FC IfeanyiUbah.

IfeanyiUbah have a new man in charge and I believe they will improve with time.

Have any individual players impressed you too?

Yes, I have seen some good players who are good enough to play for the Super Eagles and we will surely extend invitation to them in the future.

Can you mention the names of the players that you have pencilled down for invitation?

Well, let me just mention one or two players. There is Chisom (Egbuchulam) who has been with us before and has proved here once again what he can do.

Another one is Gabriel Wassa (Rivers United left-back). There are some others too that I wouldn't want to mention their names  now. We will continue to look for  more quality players that will make the national team stronger.

What are your expectations ahead of the new NPFL season?

I can confidently say the upcoming season will be an exciting one. Last season was very exciting with three or four teams challenging the title.

We have seen the four teams in the Super-Four, and you can bet they will be among the front runners again.

Then, there are others like Enyimba and Kano Pillars who really didn't do too well last season, who will be out to avoid a repeat of that.

Let's talk about the Super Eagles. The team has made a good start in the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying series with two wins against Zambia and Algeria. How do you intend sustaining the momentum?

It's a good thing that we started the qualifiers well like you mentioned, especially when you have tough teams like Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia in your group.

Our next two games against Cameroon (home and away) will be crucial, and the players know that too. We have a big role to play as coaches by making sure the players stay focused and not get carried away with what we have done so far.

We would have loved the game to come earlier than the scheduled date, but there is nothing we can do about that.

What effort is the technical crew led by Gernot Rohr making to improve the team especially the defence?

We are working really hard towards achieving that. This competition (the Super-Four) is one big opportunity for us to discover new players that will  make the team better.

We have our list of players we intend to invite for  subsequent games that we strongly believe will make the team better and we intend discovering more.

Cameroon, your next opponent in the qualifiers have beaten the Super Eagles in crucial games in the past, do you see your team getting past them this time around?

Sure, we are certainly good enough to do that. The past is not important to us now but the present. I don't see any team stopping us from going to Russia 2018.

With all due respect to Cameroon,  they are a good side, but we are not scared of them.  I'm confident we will be at the World Cup insha Allah.

Lastly, how would you  describe your  working relationship with Gernot Rohr?

It's been great. He's a  wonderful man and a good tactician. I have a good understanding with not only him but also the other members of the coaching staff, and you could see that in the results  of our games.