Nigerians are expressing confidence in Antwerp midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, who has received a late call-up to replace the injured Wilfred Ndidi in the Super Eagles camp in Abu Dhabi ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, according to PUNCH Sports Extra.
Initially named in coach Jose Peseiro’s 41-man list, Yusuf was dropped from the final 25-man squad released last Friday. However, after speculations, the Nigeria Football Federation confirmed on Wednesday that the Kano-born midfielder would replace Ndidi, while the injured Kelechi Iheanacho remains hopeful of joining the team before the AFCON commences.
Yusuf, a regular for Antwerp in the Belgium Pro League and the Champions League this season, has garnered praise for his inclusion. Fans who have watched him this season commended the decision, citing his composed and imposing performances in the middle of the park.
One fan, Eminghotei Buna, mentioned, “A very good replacement. I watched his Champions League debut, and the dude looked composed and imposing in the middle of the park.”
Another fan, Tijjani Zayyad, suggested that Yusuf should be given sufficient game time at the tournament, saying, “Good replacement, Onyedikachi and Alhassan should be given a decent run, knowing Pesiero I know he’s likely to experiment with Iwobi/Onyeka instead, which won’t work.”
Some fans also believed Yusuf deserved a place in the initial squad. One fan, Frank, commented, “Why replace Ndidi when there’s still space for two more players? Just add Alhassan Yusuf, simple. On matchdays Ndidi will not be listed. You guys want to deny Ndidi an AFCON medal when we win it.”