Nigeria won the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in 2015 and are aiming to qualify for the fourth edition of the championship to be played in Morocco later this year
Allegations of misconduct have been leveled against the head coach of the Nigerian national U-23 team, Salisu Yusuf, ahead of the upcoming AFCON qualifiers against Guinea later this month.
Nigeria will face Guinea over two legs in March (the 22nd and 28th) in the final qualifying playoff for Morocco 2023.
Ahead of the doubleheader against the Guineans, head coach Salisu Yusuf invited 30 players to the national team camp for a three-week intensive training.
However, controversy has trailed coach Yusuf’s roster.
Yusuf has been accused of making mistakes in selecting players for the team, with at least seven players on his list above the age limit.
In a report by Own Goal Nigeria, several other discrepancies were found in the players Yusuf has invited for the Guinea games.
The report pointed out that some of the players had not played any games this season, while others had doubts over their eligibility to play for the U-23 team due to their age.
Yusuf was also knocked for not having enough knowledge of the players he had invited to the team, noting that the coach had made a mess of what should have been a simple job.
While some of the players invited to the team were deemed to be within the age limit and worthy of inclusion, others were questioned for their lack of experience and low goal-scoring records.
Yusuf still has a few days to address the issues raised and ensure only eligible players are selected for the U-23 team.
Previous allegations of misdemeanour against Yusuf
Coach Salisu Yusuf has a history of misconduct.
In 2018, the 61-year-old tactician was recorded on camera accepting bribes from an undercover reporter. He claimed that the payment was a gift and that it did not affect his selection process for the players.
Despite his explanation, he received a one-year suspension and a fine of $5000 from the Nigeria Football Federation.
Following his suspension, there were rumours that he would return to his role as the Super Eagles assistant coach, but the NFF had to retract their decision due to severe criticism.
The former Rangers International coach was, however, appointed to take charge of the national U-23 team in 2022.
Yusuf and the 2023 Olympic Eagles
The allegations against Yusuf come at a critical time for the Nigerian national team, preparing for the AFCON qualifiers against Guinea on March 22nd.
The U-23 team is a vital part of Nigeria’s football development program, with many young players looking to break into the senior team in the future. As such, the accusations against the head coach are likely to be taken seriously by football authorities and fans alike.
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