*We are set to do Nigerians proud
Ahead of the second group match against Libya today, Super Eagles’ leading striker, Anthony Okpotu is full of confidence that himself and the rest of the team in the CHAN team would give over 100% performance as they (the Eagles) get set to take on the north African side Libya in Tangier, Morocco
The Super Eagles and Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi forward told www.gongnews.net after the team’s last training session ahead of today’s encounter in Tangier.
“We have put aside what happened in our first group match against Rwanda. Not just that but also fully prepared for today’s match against Libya. We want to assure Nigerians that we are not here to add up with the numbers of qualified teams but to mame our marks in this prestigious championship.”
Kano Pillars’ Stephen Eze told www.gongnews.net “we are very committed to this very game having failed to get the needed result against Rwanda in our first group match. However, the Libyans are not a push over side but I believe we have perfected our strategies. We shall be putting up credible performance today which would enable us to make progress to the next phase of the CHAN Nations cup championship here in Morocco.”
The Nigerians will be battling a very cold weather as well as the table toppers, Libya, for the teams that can progress to the next round in the group C where the Eagles are drawn alongside Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea.
Today’s make or break match comes up 4:30pm local time Tangier, Morocco while it would be 5:30pm local time in Nigeria.
Strength of the Knights of Libya: Knights of Libya know that a point in the match against the Nigerians leads them closer to the round of 16 – but the same point will make Nigeria’s Super Eagles desperate in their last group match against Equatorial Guinea, which they may want to avoid by winning this pairing.
The equation is straight and simple – they need to beat Libya no matter the scoreline.
Libya, the 2014 champions, were compact, technically sound and very decisive against Equatorial Guinea last Monday. They scored three unreplied goals.
When they file out against Nigeria at the Grand Stade de Tanger in Tangier, they will be very compact, technically alert, hoping to gain anything through breakaways and set pieces.
“We have to win against Libya to regain our confidence,” Yusuf told CAF’s official website.
“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,” Yusuf added.
If he really wants to beat Libya, here is what he has got to do! These three players must be curtailed
Mohamed Aleyat: Aleyat plays for Al Ahli Tripoli and is the pseudo-playmaker for the Knights. The left-footed creative player was part of the move that enabled the first goal against Equatorial Guinea. He assisted the other two goals. Osas Okoro is likely to start as the right back for the Eagles and being a former winger, the Rangers man must mark Aleyat with the senses of a forward.
Saleh Al Taher: Al Taher scored two goals against Equatorial Guinea. The first, he stole in front of the defender to poke home and the second was a powerful header inside the box after beating the offside line. Also from Al Ahli Tripoli, the 26-year-old is a very cool finisher and will play on the shoulder of the last man.
He does not like a physical contest, which is what both Stephen Eze and Orji Kalu must turn the contest into. Do not allow room when Libya is in possession because short passes and a split second is all he needs to find his way to goal.
Salem Ablo: Ablo is the chief instigator in the centre of the pitch – the glue that holds it all together. The main strength of the knights is their short passing game and the patience with which they use it to create space in and around the opponent’s box.
Coach Yusuf will need to employ at least two energetic and good tackling midfielders to keep this flow to a minimum. Emeka Atuloma and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi did not perform well against Rwanda – their passing was poor and they were unable to link well with the forwards. So, their game must be upped to day or else the team can receive shock.
There are other players in the Libyan team who will cause trouble. But if these three can be kept relatively quiet, then the Eagles will find a way to win if they are not denied again by the woodwork.