Twenty-four hours before his wards are due to take on Guinea’s Olympic squad in a final qualifying fixture, first leg duel at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Head Coach Salisu Yusuf said his Nigeria U23 boys are very much up to the task of grabbing one of the tickets to this year’s Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Morocco.
“I am satisfied that we have been able to work hard these past days and are now set for action. The players know that reaching the Africa Cup of Nations presents them a tremendous opportunity to fight hard for a ticket to the Olympics, which is a global tournament.
“We have invited a number of players from overseas that we believe can help us stake a very strong claim to the ticket, and we will be aiming for a good win on Wednesday. The second leg is on neutral ground, but we don’t want to entertain that in our minds. We have the objective of working assiduously to wrap up things in this first leg.”
Guinea’s U23 squad had their official training at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Saturday evening, hours before the Olympic Eagles took to the same pitch for their final workout ahead of the encounter.
Nigeria have won all the available medals in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament, taking the gold in Atlanta, USA in 1996 and the silver medal in Beijing, China in 2008. Eight years later, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the squad led by John Mikel Obi won the bronze.
The return leg of the Nigeria/Guinea has been scheduled for the Complexe Sportif Prince Heritier Moulay Al Hassan starting from 7pm Morocco time (8pm Nigeria time) on Tuesday, March 28.
For Wednesday’s encounter in Abuja, CAF has appointed Sabri Mohamed Fadul from Sudan as referee. His compatriots Abdelgabar Mohamed Abdelgabar and Ahmed Subahi will serve as assistant referee 1 and assistant referee 2 respectively, while Ring Akech Malong from South Sudan will work as fourth official.
Munkaila Nassam Adam from Ghana will be the Match Commissioner.