Nigeria’s Under-17 head coach, Emmanuel Amuneke has expressed his side’s resolve on making the most of opportunities in the Caf Africa Junior Championship.
The Golden Eaglets arrived in Niger on Thursday and will get the tournament underway against host nation on Sunday.
All semifinalists of the Caf cadet championship progress to the Fifa U-17 World Cup later this year in Chile, where record four-time world champions (1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013), Nigeria, will be looking to defend the title it won in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2013.
“Firstly, we are privileged to be here and are grateful for this opportunity. Our objective of coming here is to go to Chile and hopefully we will do our best to achieve that but in football, you cannot predict anything. But we must be optimistic and focused and know what we have to do on the field of play,” Amuneke is quoted as saying on Cafonline.com.
“To go to the World Cup, we have to work hard. We must know how to play with the ball and without the ball and if players understand this and interpret it on the field of play, we will be looking forward to Chile.”
The ex-Nigeria international, who served as assistant coach to Manu Garba when the team won its last Fifa World Cup title in 2013, cautioned his wards that they are not alone in their ambition.
“So we have to work hard as everyone will do and hopefully, Africa will have the best teams to represent us in Chile,” he said.
Amuneke noted that their choice of Sokoto for camping activities was targeted towards helping them acclimatize to the high temperatures in Niamey.
The Eaglets will confront hosts Niger in the opening game of the tournament and will then play against other Group A opponents Guinea and debutantes Zambia.