2018 CHAN: Salisu hails Okpotu, Ojo for comeback performance

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Okpotu Anthony of Nigeria celebrates goal with Salisu Yusuf, coach of Nigeria during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Ghana and Nigeria at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 18 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Super Eagles chief coach Salisu Yusuf has hailed Dayo Ojo and Tony Okpotu comeback display after Nigeria 3-1 win over Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday night at the Le Grand Stade, Agadir.

The Sunshine Stars midfielder came into the starting line-up in yesterday’s game after his superb second half performance against Libya in Tangier and he produced an excellent performance in which he scored one of the best goals of the tournament to put Nigeria into the lead against Equatorial Guinea.

Ojo was voted the ‘Man of the Match’ by CAF Technical Study Group for his showing against Equatorial Guinea. Stephen Eze was the first Super Eagles player to win the award.

“Ojo came on for Ifeanyi against Libya and he did very well, reason why we rewarded him with a start against Equatorial Guinea,” Salisu revealed.

“He’s a good ball passer and he brings additional quality to the midfield, he also helps the team build up play. He can pass the ball from 40 miters and he can also shoot from a long distance.

“We needed a player that could shoot from about 40 yards and we decided to start him, apart from his goal he works so hard in the midfield. I am happy we have enough quality and positive competition among the boys.”

The NPFL top scorer last season and Lobi Stars forward Okpotu broke his goal drought when he leveled the scores for Nigeria in the second half to cancel out Equatorial Guinea’s first half goal through Salvador Eyama.

“I am happy for Okpotu, he hasn’t been lucky in our previous two games. He needed the goal to restore his confidence and the pressure is off him now.

“His experience is a big advantage for the team and we have to continue building up plays to link up with him in the attack, he will be better from the next game. He has shown he’s still got the energy to score goals, his equalizer was important,” he said.

Nigeria awaits the second placed team in Group D in the quarter-finals. Either Congo, Angola or Burkina Faso will be the Super Eagles next opponent in the knock-out round.

Salisu added: “We are ready to play any team at this stage, the level is high and the competition will get more interesting. We are keeping our eyes in Group D and the possible opponent. We have huge respect for all the teams in the tournament and we’ll prepare for the next game.”

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