Yusuf ban served but Amapakabo remains in charge of Nigerian U-23s

September 19 – The future of Nigeria’s under-23 side coach Salisu Yusuf (pictured), remains in limbo after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) decided to retain Imama Amapakabo as coach for the youth team despite Yusuf’s return from a ban.

Yusuf served his one-year ban for his involvement in a bribery incident. The former Enyimba coach and right-hand man of Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr, was caught on camera receiving money to influence his team’s selection for the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations in Ghana. Subsequently, the NFF sanctioned Yusuf with a one-year ban aand a fine of $5000.

The NFF had left his employment status in doubt though with what looked like an open door for his return to coaching Nigeria.

However, Amapakabo will take charge of Nigeria’s preparations for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt which also serves as qualifying tournament for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo with three African slots to be played.

Nigeria are the defending champions at the U-23 finals. They won Olympic gold in Atlanta 1996 after dramatically defeating Brazil in the last four and edging Argentina in the final.

To complement the preparation for the continental finals, Amapakabo will also oversee Nigeria’s team of locally-based players for this weekend’s 2020 African Nations Championship qualifier in Togo.

“As a way of preparing the under-23 boys for the Under-23 Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) finals in Egypt, the Nigeria Football Federation has decided that the under-23 squad, without the overseas-based professionals but with a number of home-based added, will play in the CHAN qualifying fixture,” the NFF said in a statement.

“Amapakabo’s charges have another ample pre-Afcon preparatory platform awaiting at the 2nd WAFU (West African Football Union) Cup of Nations, in Thies, Senegal as from 28 September.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571781644labto1571781644ofdlr1571781644owedi1571781644sni@o1571781644fni1571781644