The one-time Kano Pillars and Taraba United coach has backed the show of gratitude to Stephen Keshi and his wards in the aftermath of 2013 Nations Cup victorySalisu Yusuf, former Super Eagles' Assistant Coach under Samson Siasia, has said that the Super Eagles players and officials deserve all the accolades they are getting after the team proved virtually every Nigerian wrong en-route to lifting the 2013 AFCON trophy in South Africa.
The Eagles were favourites to exit the Afcon when the team qualified to play against the Elephants of Ivory Coast in the quarter finals but the players' self belief and the coaches psychological pep talk saw them prevail over the Didier Drogba-led side 2-1 on their way to lifting the trophy.
The team arrived the country early last week with the Federal Government according them national honours, landed property and cash rewards among other freebies from philanthropists and State governments.
"I told you the Eagles would win in South Africa. I know that a team that struggled the way they did in the first round will produce something special as the competition continues," Yusuf told Goal.com.
Yusuf said the team merited all the encouragement they can get from Nigerians as a means of gratitude for their superb display in South Africa where they won the trophy after a 19-year hiatus.
"They didn't play too well in the group stage because they were yet to get their bearing but once they clicked they became unbeatable to teams.
"We need to know that what belongs to us is ours and we need to show our support till the very end. The Eagles proved many wrong but I believed in them from the very start.
"They deserve all what they are getting now. It is their time they should relish it with fondness," Yusuf concluded.
The Eagles' success in South Africa is the country's third AFCON crown and the first title in 19 years. Christian Chukwu led the Green Eagles to the nation's first title on home soil in 1980 and the current Super Eagles' coach lifted the title as captain in Tunisia in 1994.