Head coach of the NPFL-All Stars, Salisu Yusuf, on Thursday morning underlined the importance of assembling the NPFL All Stars team, saying it is a platform to build a formidable national squad.
Yusuf spoke with npfl.ng shortly after their Thursday morning training session inside the mainbowl of the National Stadium, Abuja.
The NPFL All-Stars are scheduled to play Spanish La Liga sides, Valencia, in a pre-season friendly and Malaga in the Carranza La Liga World Club in Spain.
Yusuf, who expressed satisfaction with the training sessions since the camp opened said while the tour is for friendly games, the NPFL All-Stars would play as though everything is at stake.
“Players of Valencia and Malaga play football with their feet the way we also do and so we will give it our best shot as we are not seeing this tour as a mere friendly tour, but as competition with some of the best teams in the La liga,” Yusuf said.
Asked about the performance of his players in training so far, Yusuf said: “I am impressed with the players’ reaction in training, the boys are clearly understanding the way we want them to play, we hope they continue to improve and express our philosophy on the pitch. “
The team will train one more time on Friday (yesterday) before all the players will be released to their various clubs for this weekend’s match day 27 league games and resume on Monday, July 18.
… As Pinnick, Dikko visit camp
A surprise visit by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick and League Management Company (LMC) Chairman, Shehu Dikko to the Thursday training of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) All-Stars training ground left the players in high spirits as they cheered the two officials during a brief pep talk.
Pinnick who spoke to the 28 of the 37 invited players harped on the need for the players to see their call to national service as a privilege they must reciprocate with a good outing during the tour of Spain.
He charged the NPFL All Stars Team to be good ambassadors of the Nigerian league and the country when they participate in the friendly match against Valencia CF and in their participation in the prestigious Carranza La Liga World Club Tournament in Spain from August 10-13.
“We are very happy about this tour, and we hope more of this sort of arrangement will be available in the near future, and even bigger than this,” remarked Pinnick.
“This should not be seen as an avenue for you to display only your individual skills and play to the gallery, the main objective for you is to see yourselves as a team and collectively play to achieve your set goal.
“In whatever you do, always put the country, Nigeria, first. You must also ensure you give a good account of yourselves during the tour.”
Meanwhile, the number of players in the camp has risen to 28. Some of those who joined the Thursday morning training include Chima Akas, Theophilus Afelokhai, Ezekiel Bassey, Chinedu Udoji, Dare Ojo and Joseph Osadiaye, all from Enyimba.
Others were Etim Matthew, Obinna Nwobodo and Chisom Egbuchulam from Enugu Rangers, Dayo Ojo of Sunshine Stars, Emmanuel Ariwa of Akwa United and Hussaini Bata of El-kanemi Warriors.