Head coach of Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles Salisu Yusuf has attributed his side’s humiliating 4-0 loss to hosts, Morocco in the final of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) to the injuries suffered by some of his key players before the match.
A brace from Zakaria Hadraf plus goals from Walid El Karti and Ayoub El Kaabi helped the Atlas Lions triumph over the Super Eagles B side, who were without captain and first choice goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Sunday Faleye and Daniel Itodo due to injuries.
The sending off of winger Peter Eneji for two bookable offences early in the second half did not help matters for Nigeria in wet conditions at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca on Sunday night.
“The team did very well but today (Sunday) we had so much rain throughout, and you know we have been carrying injuries throughout,” he told www.busybuddiesng.com in an exclusive chat from Casablanca shortly after the match. “We managed the team with injuries.
“It was like an off day for the team because after that red card (to Peter Eneji) we couldn’t come back because some players managing their injuries couldn’t play above that level, the injuries keep coming up again. We need to manage the team.
“We know it is football. We had four players that couldn’t even dress (due to injuries). But it is football, and it has happened.”
Despite the huge defeat his team suffered, the former Enyimba coach was quick to take some positives from the match and Nigeria’s participation in the 2018 CHAN.
“The positive is that, at least, we have moved a step forward in CHAN. I think it is kudos to the league (Nigeria Professional Football League) that we got to the final. And I think we have some players that are like revelation; they did very well. We hope for the future,” he concluded.
Nigeria recorded her best outing at the tournament in Morocco by reaching the final of the 2018 CHAN, surpassing their third-place finish in 2014 when the home-based Eagles made her debut in South Africa.