The former Kano Pillars train has observed that the recent improvement in the standard of the country’s domestic league would be a key factor as the locally-based players would be all out to prove their mettle against their West African rivals.
“We know that our opponents are a very good side and most of their players were in the team that beat the Nigeria U-23 team at the African Games Brazzaville, Congo; so we know the quality of the team we are going to see on Saturday because we have also been able to see their game against Niger.
We have been preparing for this encounter. I strongly believe the standard of our local league is now much better, and we are expecting to see the quality of our local based players again on Saturday.”
The local Super Eagles will be led by in-form Warri Wolves striker, Gbolahan Salami, one of potent marksmen in the Nigeria Premier League and also a member of the team that claimed bronze at the last edition of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues two years ago in South Africa.
Yusuf reckons that Salami’s experienced over the years, also with the senior A team 0could be the key against the Burkinabe:
“Salami is not the only player we are looking to on Saturday but his experience will help the young ones against Burkina Faso,” admitted the vastly experienced Yusuf, who in the past has handled Nigerian big guns such as Enyimba and El Kanemi Warriors.
“Our priority is to win well here (in Nigeria) before the return leg match in Ouagadougou,” he concluded.
The second leg will take place next week in the Burkinabe capital, with the winner qualifying to the final tournament next year.
Other Zone West B qualifiers will see Ghana hosting Cote d’Ivoire in Kumasi on Sunday and Niger versus Togo in Niamey on Saturday.