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Aliyu Zubairu attributes El-Kanemi Warriors success to youthful squad’s hunger and determination

El-Kanemi Warriors are reveling in a remarkable double triumph after clinching both the 2024 President Federation Cup and securing promotion back to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) under the guidance of coach Aliyu Zubairu. Alongside Enyimba, they will represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Coach Zubairu attributed his team’s success to their youthful squad’s hunger and determination. “When we started, the players I assembled were young and hungry, they wanted to make a name for themselves,” Zubairu said.

The final saw El-Kanemi Warriors overcome a missed penalty early in the match, with Nasiru Salihu, who was named Man of the Match, scoring twice to secure the victory against Abia Warriors in the Federation Cup final.

Zubairu’s strategy of focusing on youth development has paid off significantly. He emphasised the importance of giving opportunities to young players, drawing parallels to the success of European clubs that have embraced this approach. “The reality remains that if the Europeans can believe in young players, what stops us from doing that?” Aliyu Zubairu remarked.

Coach Aliyu Zubairu
Coach Aliyu Zubairu

Despite the challenges of playing in both the second-tier Nigeria National League (NNL) and the Federation Cup, the young squad’s perseverance and determination saw them prevail. Zubairu remains confident in his squad’s ability to compete on the continental stage. “At some point, we were playing in the NNL and the President Federation Cup, which wasn’t easy, but the initial intention of getting younger players paid off because they could persevere, and we prevailed in the competition eventually.”

He further added, “I’m not saying there are no experienced players that can go round the continent and do better, but don’t deprive the younger ones the opportunity. Age does not play football, and the younger the better.”

With this victory, El-Kanemi Warriors and Enyimba are poised to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup.

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