While speaking after he was named man of the match for his impressive performance between the sticks, captain of the home-based Super Eagles, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, said that Yusuf Salisu’s belief in his players gave the team the confidence to defeat Angola.
Ezenwa, said the coach’s body language on the touchline was pivotal to the eventual outcome. “For the victory, I’ll say the coach was wonderful because even at the 88th minute of the game he never lost confidence, he was still standing at the touchline, telling us we can do it, that we can make it.
“And when I looked at him from my goal post, I told my defenders, we can score. They should just believe because look at the coach, he had not sat down because he still had that belief.
“That was why when the goal entered I ran from my post down to the coach to tell him well done. I thank God and dedicate this man of the match award to my beloved son — my last born. He said daddy I wish you good luck before the game and I think it has come to pass.”
Ezenwa said the players are determined to qualify for the final of the tournament. “I think the highest level Nigeria has gone is the semi-final and won the bronze medal. Before we left Nigeria, we had an agreement that we have to break that record.
“And I think by the grace of God, we are going to break that jinx to reach the finals. When we went into the game against Angola, we told ourselves that we are not going to lose the match.”
Ahead of the quarter-final clash against Angola, Ezenwa said his colleagues are brimming with confidence and will endeavour to emerge victors. “Sudan, we respect them and we still remain humble. We don’t fear them. We should not lose focus and believe in ourselves,” he said.
“That same belief we use in defeating Libya and Angola. We’ll have to put effort more because that is their main national team.”
The CHAN Eagles will face Sudan in the semi-final of the competition on Wednesday.