The home-based Super Eagles team getting set for Saturday’s 2016 African Nations Championship, CHAN final round, first leg qualifier against Etalons of Burkina Faso are fully focused on the task ahead despite the absence of Head Coach Sunday Oliseh.
Coach Oliseh will not be available for Saturday’s clash in Port Harcourt owing to ill health, a development the Nigeria Football Federation had initially refuted via a tweet through their official twitter handle on Wednesday.
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Toyin Ibitoye, the media officer for the Super Eagles said no vacuum was created with the unavoidable absence of Oliseh as the assistant coaches in camp are holding forth well and the players are focused on the task ahead of them.
“We are not missing Oliseh in camp, we know he will join us on Sunday after the match,” Mr. Ibitoye said.
The Super Eagles spokesperson said while they await the arrival of the contingent from Burkina Faso, they are following through their preparations for the crucial clash.
“The preparations are going on smoothly. There are no injury concerns in the camp. All 24 players here in Port Harcourt are in excellent physical and mental state, so we are ready whenever they come in,” he said.
Mr. Ibitoye also confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that Warri Wolves striker, Gbolahan Salami would captain the Eagles as they take on Burkina Faso even as he charged the football fans in Port Harcourt to come out in their numbers to support the quest of the home-based stars.
“The reception from Port Harcourt has been commendable,” the Eagles spokesperson said. “We hope to see them turn up in numbers to support us on Saturday.”
Nigeria is targeting its second straight qualification for the CHAN tournament having finally broken the jinx in 2014 when she made it to South Africa to feature in the competition reserved for senior players plying their trade in their country’s domestic league.
The winner over two legs between Nigeria and Burkina Faso will be eligible for a place at the 4th African Nations Championship taking place in Rwanda early next year.