A 56-year-old Nigeria Professional Football Manager and an ex player who is the current chief coach of the Senior Nigeria National team, Super Eagles, Salisu Yusuf, in recent times has been highly vilified by many Nigerians, as regards his tactical and technical basis to the game. His football nous as a coach is derided.
The vilification are always expected to pour in for any player or coach pertaining to the round leather game, one which Salisu Yusuf has experienced recently with regards to the home based Super Eagles team on the WAFU cup tournament and most especially the just recently concluded TOTAL CHAN 2018 tournament in Morocco. But, as criticism keeps pouring in, Nigerians, most especially still owe Salisu Yusuf some credit, as he’s definitely among the top ten best Nigeria Football coaches and, he has proven to be a success.
The tag “he isn’t an attacking minded coach and lacks approach” has always come into fore, but, it doesn’t take only attacking football to become a successful coach most times. Can a coach that ‘lacks approach’ get a team to the final of an African tournament? These are questions begging for answers from his critics.
A man who started his professional career in 2002 with Nasarawa United, before moving to Lobi Stars in 2003, where he lifted and handed Lobi stars the Nigeria FA Cup, then called the ‘Challenge Cup’.
The ‘coach without approach’ as many often call him, handed Pillars the title in 2008 and took them to the 2011 CAF champions league after missing out on the 2010 tournament.
A man whose success many try to put in the mud was a man that almost led Enyimba to the NPFL title in 2013, finishing second – with 62 points; behind Kano Pillars with 63.
Salisu’s brilliance led Enyimba FC to lift the 2013 FA Cup.
It’s definitely, no fluke to get appointed as an assistant to Stephen Keshi in 2016, becoming the Chief Coach of the Super Eagles in the process.
Coach Salisu might not become as successful as the likes of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola, but it takes only very few coaches like Kadiri Ikhana, Okey Emordi, to win the Nigeria FA cup and League title with two of Nigeria’s biggest clubs: Enyimba and Kano Pillars.
Salisu led Nigeria to their best ever CHAN tournament, finishing 2nd place to the host and tournament favourites, Morocco.
The word ‘Luck’ has been the term/noun many use when describing his team’s outing in Morocco, but there is no point in trying to belittle the obvious success of the CHAN Eagles under coach Salisu Yusuf.
Most Nigerians, are bitter about the manner in which the Super Eagles under Salisu lost in the finals of the WAFU Cup and CHAN tournament, but even great coaches in Europe like Sir Alex Ferguson was thrashed 6-1 in a Manchester Derby, but it didn’t make him any bad. Also, Jose Mourinho has suffered a 5-0 thumping in an El Classico clash, with Pep Guardiola losing 4-0 to an Everton side. These losses didn’t make any of these coaches any bad.
In the Nigerian scene, a Samson Siasia has been caught in the final jinx twice losing to same Argentina, and it didn’t ridiculed Siasia’s capacity as a coach.
As the criticism keeps pouring in, there should be a balance; acknowledging the fact: Salisu Yusuf remains a successful Nigerian professional football coach, up there with the likes of Stephen Keshi, Eguaveon, Ikhana, Emordi etc. And he doesn’t need to win the World Cup for people to commend him.
Salisu Yusuf definitely is one who remains a venerable coach in the Nigeria scene.
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