Super Eagles assistant coach Salisu Yusuf says the team need to raise their level after their disappointing performance in their Morocco 2018 African Nations Championship opening game against Rwanda at Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier on Monday.
Nigeria settled for a goalless draw against East African minnows Amavubi as their lacklustre attack failed them when it mattered most.
The South Africa 2014 bronze medallists face Group C leaders Libya in their second game of the tournament exclusively for players plying their trade in their domestic league on Friday, and under-pressure Salisu says the Eagles must win the encounter to “regain our confidence”.
And the captain of the team Ikechukwu Ezenwa echoed his manager’s words, saying they should aim for victory against the 2014 CHAN champions, who humiliated Equatorial Guinea 3-0 in their first game.
In a pre-match interview on Thursday, Salisu restated that bad luck robbed Nigeria of victory against Rwanda.
He told his charges to convert their scoring chances against the North Africans today.
“We played well in that game (against Rwanda) but luck was not on our side,” the former Kano Pillars manager, who is in charge of the CHAN assignment, told Cafonline.
“We missed a lot of goal scoring chances. We have to win against Libya to regain our confidence. And for that, we must dare and create opportunities to score. Given our performance against Rwanda, I am optimistic we can beat this Libyan team.”
Goalkeeper Ezenwa said, “We are focused on the match. We are aiming for victory to have a better chance of qualifying for the next round.We have forgotten about the draw against Rwanda and we feel no pressure.”
Libya coach Omar El Maryami predicted a “difficult” game against Nigeria.
He said, “The match against Nigeria will be very difficult because Nigeria is a big name in African football. This is a very important game for us because victory will seal our qualification. I have an idea about this Nigerian team after their first match against Rwanda. I even know some players like Anthony Okpotu, who had a stint with Libyan side, Al Ittihad. The players are ready, focused on the game and want to win.”
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