Adepoju rues U-23 team ouster, faults selection


By Anthony Nlebem.

Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, has expressed displeasure after the country’s U-23 side failed to qualify for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations and 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Salisu Yusuf’s side came short of making it to this year’s U-23 AFCON after losing 2-0 to Guinea in the second leg of their final qualifying fixture in Rabat, Morocco on Tuesday, after playing a goalless draw in the first leg in Abuja last week.

The African U-23 AFCON is the 2024 Olympic Games’ qualifying tournament and the defeat means the team will also not compete at the 2024 Olympic men’s football tournament in Paris, France.

Adepoju, a veteran of three World Cups, questioned coach Salisu Yusuf’s team selection for the qualifiers, noting that some of the invited players were below standard.

“It’s very sad because we have not participated in the past two Olympics and we used to be very very strong in the Olympics, we won in Atlanta 1996 and in Beijing 2008 we did well also, and not qualifying for the 2024 Olympics is very sad,” Adepoju told The PUNCH.

“I do not want to believe it’s wrong selection of players, because I believe the coaches know what they are doing and know the players, but probably the players the coach picked were not up to the task.”