Nigerian coaches Godfrey Esu, Segun Oguns and Kadiri Ikhana have reacted to the performance of the Super Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf at the just-concluded 2018 African Nations Championship in Morocco.
The Eagles finished second at the competition, which ended on February 4, after losing 4-0 to the hosts in the final.
The Eagles struggled throughout the competition – starting the tournament with a barren draw against Rwanda before 1-0 and 3-1 wins over Libya and Equatorial Guinea respectively to emerge Group C leaders.
They came back from behind to beat Angola 2-1 in extra time but had goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye, who replaced captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa, to thank for some daring saves, as they beat Sudan 1-0 in the semi-final to reach a first ever CHAN final.
For the final match, Salisu brought on Plateau United winger Peter Eneji for his first match of the tournament but the 19-year-old lasted 48 minutes on the pitch as he was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Former Sunshine Stars assistant coach Segun Oguns blamed Salisu for not selecting the right players for the competition.
He said, “This Eagles were poorly coached. Honestly, however bad our league is and poorly financed, that team is not a true reflection of our league.
“A lot of the players, who played in the 2013 African Cup of Nations under late coach Stephen Keshi were from the domestic league. The like of Fegor Ogude, Godfrey Oboabona, Solomon Kwambe, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Sunday Mba and a host of others were from our league.
“I believe that Salisu and some other coaches are not qualified enough to handle the Super Eagles. The national team is no child’s play – it’s different from coaching a club. The coach’s performance with the team will now be used to rate other Nigerian coaches – and this is the annoying part of the scenario.”
Esu agreed with Oguns that the team were not the best the league could offer but believes that the coach should be absolved of the blame for their lacklustre performances at the competition.
“Apart from the team finishing second in Morocco, I found out that the best players were not taken to the competition. The coach gave a lot of excuses for selecting the players he took to the competition but those players don’t reflect the true state of our league,” he said.
“There are better players at Akwa United and some other clubs, who will do better than those who went to Morocco. There are better composed strikers in the league than the ones who were struggling to convert the chances they had. Some of them only showed individual brilliances a few times and they failed to work as a team.
“Salisu needs to work with other coaches in the league to get the best players for future competitions and ensure that he spends more time observing players in the league. There are more things to work on for the future but I will say the coach tried his best but it just was not enough.”
And former Shooting Stars coach Ikhana said Salisu’s tactics were right since he was able to take the team to the final of the tournament.