Taifa Stars of Tanzania’s Nigerian coach, Emmanuel Amuneke is confident his wards would not be a Cinderella side at the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be held in Egypt between 21st June and 19th July.
Last month, Amuneke steered the East Africans to their first AFCON since their debut at the 1980 finals incidentally hosted by Nigeria and the 1994 African Footballer of the Year is already eyeing a good tournament in Egypt.
“We cannot be talking about looking for an easy group at the AFCON because all the best teams on the continent would be in attendance in Egypt,” explained Amuneke who made his name with Egyptian top side, Zamalek in the 1990s.
The Egypt 2019 Draw would be held on April 12 at an idyllic spot facing the Sphinx and the Pyramids near Cairo and the former Barcelona winger hinted Tanzania would cope in the coming of any team irrespective of their status in African football .
“My philosophy is that there is nothing like impossibility in football; nobody gave Tanzania the chance to qualify for the AFCON but we have qualified as a result of hard work,” noted Amuneke who led Nigeria to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup title in 2015.
Egypt 2019 wouldfor the first time in the history of the continental championship is contested for by 24 teams including the hosts that are already seeded in Group A as the teams will be drawn into six groups of four teams.
“We can’t say this is the team we wished to be drawn against or the team we don’t want to play against at the AFCON; but we shall do our best even if we are in the same group with Nigeria or even the hosts, Egypt.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has yet again picked the former Nigerian international as a member of its Technical Study Group (TSG) for the U-17 AFCON to be hosted in Tanzania between April 14 and 28.
“I would be working for CAF during the U-17 AFCON and it is a privilege to me,” he said. “I have passion for the youths and it would be interesting to see the new talents coming through from all part of the continent in Tanzania.