Niger Tornadoes of Minna coach, Abubakar Bala has disclosed that the club have stepped up their preparations for the CAF Confederation Cup, where they will meet Santoba Conakry of Guinea this weekend.
Bala disclosed that the middle-belt club, who have already released 11 players from the squad that got relegated froim the top-flight division last season, have relocated to Kaduna and started training their, ahead of the first-round tie that holds Friday at Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
He stated further on Radio Nigerian Network News that the club has also started searching for experienced players to help the team in the continental campaign and boost their quest for promotion back to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Tornadoes, who will compete in the lower cadre Nigeria National League (NNL) gained a spot in the continent by virtue of finishing second in the Federation Cup behind Kano Pillars, who had already qualified for the CAF Champions League as second placed in the NPFL.
Those that have been told to leave The Ikon Allah Boys include Olayinka Yusuf, Gwaza Lorliam, Moses Ugwu, Abashya Gyemini, Chizoba Ndukwe, Mubarak Sai’d, Friday Kaburu, Hussaini Mohammed, Obinna Jacob, Saba Hassan and Ayo Adetola, whose penalty miss saw Tornadoes lose in the final of this year’s Federation Cup.
Tornadoes lost 4-3 on penalties to Kano Pillars in Kaduna, making it the second time in three years they finished runners-up in the competition, as they alsso lost the 2017 edition against Akwa United of Uyo in Lagos.
That development may have led to a shakeup in the team, with some players shown the exit and others wooed to beef up the squad for the task of doing well on the continent and getting promotion back to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) this season.
Some of the players on the radar of Tornadoes, who have been invited to Minna, with the view of tying down deals, include Segun Alebiosu (from Kwara United), Kamara Aziz (Enugu Rangers), Moses Ocheji (Remo Stars) Chinonso Udeh (Ifeanyi Ubah) and Ifeanyi Okoye (Kwara United).
However, Tornadoes also announced that Mustapha Aliko, Reuben Ogbonnaya, Dosso Saib, Bashir Azado, Ismaila Sarki, Ahmadu Liman, Mustapha Jibrin and Erick Frimpong have been retained by the club.
Bala said: “We are in Kaduna already, and we are preparing well. The players are in high spiti and they are responding very well to training.
“I am sure we will be ready for Santoba when they come and we will be ready to beat them, so that we can start well in the Confederation Cup.”