Nigeria coach Salisu blames CHAN final defeat on injuries to key players

Nigeria coach Salisu blames CHAN final defeat on injuries to key players
Salisu Yusuf

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Feb 05, 2018. 14:00

Nigeria coach Salisu Yusuf reflected on his side’s 4-0 defeat to Morocco in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) final at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Sunday.

A brace from Zakaria Hadraf and a goal each from Walid El Karti and Ayoub El Kaabi was all the Atlas Lions needed to win their first major continental title since the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Nigeria bounced back from a goal down to defeat Angola 2-1 after extra-time in the quarter-final, before beating Sudan 1-0 in the semi-finals despite playing with ten men.

"We lost today because we had to manage due to many injuries, Morocco played well,” Salisu told the media.

The home-based Super Eagles were without some of their key players, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Sunday Faleye.

Peter Eneji, who was making his first appearance in the tournament, was sent off after the Nigeria attacker received his second yellow card.

“They created chances and scored, it could have been better if we had all our players available. The game become more difficult with the red card,” he added.

Salisu decided to bench their star striker Anthony Okpotu and he was replaced by Eneji on the Super Eagles starting line-up.

"It was a strategy to introduce Okpotu from the bench, Eneji did well. We wanted to win but Morocco got it,” he explained.

Nigeria scooped sliver medals in their first ever appearance in the CHAN final.

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