Former Super Eagles winger and current head coach of the Nigeria U-17 team, Golden Eaglets, Emmanuel Amunike, in a recent interview with newsmen, spoke on the readiness of his players to retain the FIFA U-17 World Cup set to be staged in Chile next month.
Reiterating the objective of his team to retain the trophy they won in 2013, and assuring soccer-loving Nigerians that his team will restore confidence back to Nigerian football, Amunike said, “Twenty-four countries are going to converge on Chile, and if you ask me, we all have one objective and the objective is to win the cup and as defending champions, we are going there to defend our cup.
“So, it’s a very good platform for us as a team. What we have to do now is to build on the experience we had and seen in that tournament. Hopefully when we get to Chile the boys could really understand what they have to do.
“What I can assure Nigerians is that we will do our best and we will continue to do our best. We intend to do our best: they also should pray for us that everything goes well. We cannot do away with them, they are the ones to encourage us and on our part we will try and see how we can put smiles in their faces. Let me tell you in football you don’t make promises; what you need to do is to do your best and when the moment comes, surely we shall get it right.
“Nigeria deserve more, but we also need to be realistic, football is a game and the changes that the game bring must be put in consideration and that is why we are trying to do in this category. We have a lot of challenges; the MRI is there, a lot of factors are there in this category, the earlier we accept and assume the challenges, the better. And since 2012 the last Eaglets and this present Eaglets, we have been try to see that, at least this category, may be in the next five years those players will be playing in the Super Eagles. This is the objective of this category, hopefully in Chile we will do our best and God will make it possible we bring smiles in the faces of Nigerian.”
When asked, if he was satisfied with the caliber of players he has right now in camp, the coach said:
“Well, I am satisfied in one way: that I think we have worked very hard since May. We have been here, seen a lot of enthusiastic young talented Nigerians who want to serve their father land, but at the end of the day we were able to come up with the players we have now. So, what we need to do right now is to continue to encourage them. It is still work in progress; even during the World Cup we have to continue to look at the areas we need to improve. Let me tell you one bitter truth today, as the tournament progresses the challenges get tougher.
“So, we have to be realistic to ourselves, it’s not that we have finished because every Nigerian wants the best for our country. But at the same time we have to be realistic that everything in life has a process and procedure and the process of what we are doing today, I think hopefully, if we believe in what we are doing by continuing to work hard, continue to encourage ourselves, probably it will lead us to a huge success.”
The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria will begin the defence of their title on the 17th of October, where they will play the United States of America.