Former Kano Pillars and Enyimba of Aba head coach, Salisu Yusuf has taken over technical duties at Rangers International of Enugu, following a decision by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to second him to The Flying Antelopes ahead of their CAF Confederation Cup fixture this weekend.
With The Coal City side appearing to be in a quandary after a decision by the Enugu State commissioner for sports to sack their interim handler, Benedict Ugwu (Surugede), following their second home defeat of the season in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the NFF moved fast on Wednesday, directing Yusuf to take over the club’s coaching saddle.
An effort by Rangers’ management to quickly dump the job in an uncanny manner on an ex-international, Sylvanus Okpala, who is also one of their ex-players and erstwhile member of the technical crew from several years back, did not materialize, as they went public with an announcement of his choice before he had been formally contacted.
Okpala promptly denied any link with the job and publicly declared that he had not been contacted in any way about taking over the team’s technical duties, which apparently left the Coal City in a quandary about having an experienced and qualified man in charge of this Sunday’s CAF Confederation Cup fixture at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
That provided the route towards a soft landing of sort for Yusuf, following his controversial reinstatement as Super Eagles’ assistant coach, at the expiration of a year’s ban was handed him for accepting bribe from an undercover report posing as a players’ agent, to fix invitations to the home-based national team for the Championship of African Nations (CHAN).
A large outcry followed a press statement by the NFF that Yusuf was heading back to his post with the CHAN Eagles and under-23 squad, Olympic Eagles, thereby forcing the soccer body to put their intentions on hold, only for both teams to fumble under the charge of another Eagles’ assistant coach, Imama Amapakabo.
However, after missing out on a desired return to the CHAN Eagles’ saddle, Yusuf now appears set to get busy once again at club level, as the NFF have sent him on a trouble-shooting mission to The Cathedral, where he will try to help the Enugu-based 2016 NPFL champions win the first leg of their Confederation Cup group stage opening fixture against Pyramids of Egypt on Sunday.