The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be up against the Pharaohs of Egypt later this month in two crucial back-to-back games for the race to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and when former coach Sunday Oliseh resigned his position last month, with just a month to the games, a lot of Nigerians gave up hope on the country’s chances of qualifying.
But that hope was somewhat revived when Samson Siasia and Emmanuel Amuneke were announced as the new coaches of the team – albeit on an interim basis.
Both former internationals, Siasia is arguably the most loved coach in Nigerian football at present, and is presently the chief coach of the Under 23 team, which he led to Olympic qualification by winning the Under 23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal last year, while Amuneke also has his admirers, especially after leading the country to the FIFA Under 17 World Cup last year and was subsequently moved to the Under 20.
Both men, having been drafted in immediately after Oliseh resigned for what has been tagged a ‘rescue mission’, however understand the enormity of the task at hand and it is on that premise that Amuneke has admitted that it won’t be easy against Egypt.
“It is not going to be easy against Egypt and we have to realistic and honest with ourselves,” he tells fcnaija.
“It will be very disrespectful if we cannot recognize the fact that they are ahead of us in the group and they have won more games in the series and they are in a better position because they have the advantage.”
The Pharaohs lead the Super Eagles with two points in qualifying group G, having won their first two games while Nigeria only won their first but drew their second group game.
But despite admitting the Egyptians are in a better position, Amuneke however adds that football still remains an unpredictable sport where anything can happen.
“Football is very unpredictable, unlike when you can easily add two figures and know the exact answer. You have to put all the factors into consideration and when a team does what is right, you always know you are closer to achieving success.”
The first leg of the back-to-back fixtures comes up in Kaduna on the 25th, while the return leg comes in Alexandria on the 29th.