Emmanuel Amuneke, coach of national Under-17 team, is optimistic that the Golden Eaglets would be battle ready for their upcoming African Championship qualifier against Democratic Republic of Congo after their impressive performance on a two-match to Egypt.
In a postmortem of their two-match tour of Cairo at the weekend, Amuneke said he was impressed with the team’s overall performance even as he singled out nail-as-hard defender, Usman Abass for special praise.
He said; “If you compare the Egyptian we met Cairo with the one we met in Kaduna, you would see that there is a marked difference with the team we beat in Kaduna and I really commend our boys for being able to withstand the challenge.
“They are physically strong and more tactically aware and it takes a team with good mental attitude to deal with them and I’m happy we came out with good results.”
The ‘Boys from Nigeria’ drew goalless with Egypt last Friday and followed up with an impressive 4-2 win on Sunday but the name on the lips of everyone was that of Abuja-based Heart FC defender, Usman Abass who shone like a neon light in the dark under the floodlight of the Cairo Police Sports Stadium.
“Generally, all the players did well because winning or losing, is a team effort and our objective has always been to play collectively as a team,” said Amuneke, one of the stars of Nigeria’ s golden era of the 1990s that won the 1994 African Cup of Nations and Africa’s first
Olympic soccer Gold medal at Atlanta’96.” Frankly, I’m really impressed with Abass because he did so well despite the fact that this was his first match for us.
“Samuel (Chukwueze), Halilu (Lukman) too are coming up but on the whole, I’ll pick Abass as our best player in the two matches in Cairo,” he stated.
In the meantime, the Golden Eaglets started their routine training on Tuesday’s evening at the University of Calabar even as Amuneke advised all to be focused on their upcoming African Championship match against Democratic Republic of Congo.