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Alhassan Yusuf gets chance to fly high with the Super Eagles at AFCON 2023

Antwerp Midfielder Alhassan Yusuf in action
Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi is ruled out of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote D'Ivoire and coach Jose Peseiro has called up Belgium-based Alhassan Yusuf as his replacement.

Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro is set to invite Terem Moffi and Alhassan Yusuf as possible replacements for the duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, who are both suffering from knocks.

Reports have it that former Flying Eagles coach Paul Aigbogu, about five years ago, made efforts for Swedish club IFK Goteborg to release Alhassan Yusuf for the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.

However, it didn’t seem to yield positive results as the Swedish club denied the attempt of the current Jammerbugt FC manager.

On Tuesday night as he flew back to his Belgian base, Alhassan, bandy legs and humility personified, got the phone call to replace injured Wilfred Ndidi on the Super Eagles squad for the 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire.

 

It was a much-deserved recognition of what this versatile midfielder has accomplished in Europe in the past six years even if it took forever to come through.

In 2018, after turning 18, the FC Hearts star was rewarded with his first professional contract by Goteborg after a stellar performance at the Gothia Cup in Sweden. Thereafter, helping the club win the Swedish Cup and was voted the Young Player of the Year in Sweden.

Ambitious Belgian club Antwerp paid under Two Million Euros to sign him in July 2021 and last season, he justified this acquisition by playing a major role in their winning the league and cup double as well as the Belgian Super Cup

Besides his whole-hearted industry, which has got several Premier League clubs keeping tabs, Alhassan, 23, is a central midfielder known to bring stability and creative juice that has been so lacking in the Super Eagles.

Alhassan Yusuf (right) proud cup winner in Sweden

‘Hasse’, a nickname he earned in Sweden, is tactically shrewd and technically gifted even though he could improve on his number of goals and assists.

Last season, before a mysterious ankle injury that took several months to heal he was always the first name on the team sheet of Antwerp Dutch coach Mark van Bommel.

This term he attracted a lot of attention on the back of his well-taken goal against Portuguese giants FC Porto as well as a masterful display in front of the home fans that led to the fall of mighty Barcelona, all in the UEFA Champions League.

It may have been the misfortune of another player that finally presented him with his Super Eagles chance, but you can be rest assured he is a top quality addition for the AFCON.

Alhassan Yusuf could well be the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that the Super Eagles have so desperately craved for.

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