New Blackpool signing Adi Yussuf ready to face world-class rivals in Africa

Adi Yussuf aims to play for Tanzania in the African Cup of Nations
Adi Yussuf aims to play for Tanzania in the African Cup of Nations

Blackpool’s new signing Adi Yussuf says he is relishing the opportunity to play against some of the world’s best this summer.

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The 27-year-old is away with the Tanzania national team preparing for the African Cup of Nations, which gets under way on Friday next week.

The striker, who agreed a move to Bloomfield Road from Solihull Moors, will be aiming to showcase his abilities in warm-up matches against tournament hosts Egypt tomorrow and Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amunike will then whittle his 32-man squad down to 23 for the tournament.

Having scored 21 goals for the National League club last season, Blackpool’s new recruit is hoping to feature in the competition in Egypt.

Yussuf said: “I’ve had an unbelievable season, signing for a League One team from non-league and then getting called up to the Tanzanian national team. To get the chance of playing against Premier League players is just amazing.

“We’ve got Senegal, Algeria and Kenya in our group but before that we’ve got a friendly against Egypt.

“To play against players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will be a great experience for me, so I can’t wait.”

Yussuf, who is yet to feature for his country, will return late for pre-season training with Blackpool.

But the former Burton Albion, Mansfield Town and Lincoln City man insists he will be ready for the start of the League One campaign.

“I’ve had my rest – I’ve had about two weeks off,” he added. “I’ve been ticking over, so I’ve recharged and I’ll be ready to go when I come back.”

Yussuf became the Seasiders’ first signing of the summer at the end of last month, joining on a free transfer from Solihull. He penned a two-year deal with the option to extend by a further 12 months.

The striker was Solihull’s top scorer as they finished runners-up in the National League, losing to AFC Fylde in the play-off semi-finals.

Two of those 21 goals came against Blackpool in the FA Cup last December, when the Seasiders overcame Solihull 3-2 in a second-round replay at Bloomfield Road.

Yussuf said: “From a personal point of view that was a good game, although we did end up getting knocked out.

“I thought Solihull did well up against a League One team. It was just unfortunate we didn’t go through.”

The Seasiders are still looking to make their second signing of the summer, with free agent Ryan Edwards heavily linked.

The centre-back, who has opted to leave relegated Plymouth Argyle, has held talks with Pool manager Terry McPhillips, although Tranmere Rovers and Bristol Rovers are also said to be interested.