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Sports News of Friday, 10 March 2023


U23 Afcon qualifiers: A ploy to distract the team – Boboye rubbishes 'malicious' claims against Nigeria U23 coach Salisu Yusuf

Salisu Yusuf Salisu Yusuf

The tactician has lashed out at the outlandish report aimed at undermining Nigeria’s chances against Guinea

Coach Kennedy Boboye has described as ‘malicious’ allegations levelled against Nigeria U23 handler Salisu Yusuf ahead of next week’s fixture against Guinea.

The Dream Team will square up against the West Africans in the Third Round qualifying of the 2023 Africa U23 Cup of Nations, with the winners on aggregate securing a ticket to Morocco.

Nevertheless, Nigeria’s preparations has been unsettled following Own Goal Nigeria’s report that head coach Yusuf invited players above the age limit and those who have not been active so far this season.

Following up on this, reached out to assistant coach Boboye – who feels the news was aimed at unsettling the country’s mission of qualifying for the quadrennial African football showpiece.

“We [the technical crew] were stunned reading the news and I must state here that the report is malicious,” Boboye told

“That story should not to be taken seriously because it is a ploy to distract the team ahead of the all-important match against the Guineans.

“I have spoken to coach Salisu about this and we have agreed that it will not derail our target of getting the U23 Afcon ticket.

“We [members of the coaching crew] are solidly behind him; if he succeeds, we are a part of it and if the reverse happens we will all take responsibility.

“I am bold to inform you that the players called up are within the required bracket and those we believe will get the job done.

“As it concerns their level of fitness, whoever is called upon on match day will give their 100%.”

To reach this stage, Nigeria overcame resilient Tanzania 3-1 on aggregate in the second round, whereas Guinea secured easy passage having walked over Uganda.

Notwithstanding the country’s pedigree at this level of football, coach Boboye assures that his side will go all out against Morlaye Cisse’s team.

“We appear to be favourites but Guinea can be dangerous because they will present a solid squad,” the Nigeria Professional Football League winning coach continued.

“I won’t predict the score line because it would not be an easy match but they should be scared of us.

“We will give them respect and we won’t make the mistake of underrating them.”

Since the inception of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria emerged as champions in 2015, nonetheless, failed to defend their title in Egypt after crashing out of the group stage.

Morocco 2023 serves as African qualifying for the Olympic football tournament, with the top three teams qualifying for the Paris 2024.