Friday, November 6, 2015 10:47 am
The Eaglets scaled the hurdle of the Mexican U-17 team in a thrilling 4-2 victory in the semi final played in the early hours of Friday in Concepción, Chile, while the Malians beat Belgium 3-1 in another semi final cracker to set up an All-African final of the World Cup on Sunday.
Speaking in an interview monitored on a Lagos based radio station early on Friday; Amuneke said that having gone to this stage in the cadet championship, and nothing can stop his team from defending the World Cup for good.
“We are happy to be in the final because we worked very hard for it,” said Amuneke, who was an assistant coach in the Golden Eaglets team that won the UAE 2013 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The final will be an interesting challenge because we are facing the African champions. They are not new to us. We played them during the last West African Football Union (WAFU) tournament. We knew that they are physically and tactically good. I want to assure that we will work very hard to defend this cup. We are happy to be in the final and have the chance to defend the world title once again,” Amuneke said.
The coach thanked football loving Nigerians for their support since the tournament began and like Oliver Twist, he is asking for more as they play in the final on Sunday. “I want to thank Nigerians for their support because we made it collectively to this stage. We want more of this support on Sunday as we bring smiles to the faces of Nigerians once again,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick, was in ecstasy on Thursday night after the match. “I’m very excited, not only with the result, but the way the boys came fighting back after that early goal by Mexico. I keep saying that we have the potentials to be world champions in several areas of endeavour. These boys have done Nigeria proud. They will go up against Mali on Sunday with great confidence and discipline, and emerge victorious,” the website of the NFF quoted Pinnick to have told the team.
“Nigerians are happy with all of you because you have represented us well and I am personally proud of you,” said Pinnick. “I don’t want you to forget that anything you are doing is for our great country, Nigeria. Thirty years ago, we won this trophy when President Muhammadu Buhari was the military Head of State and it would be a great thing if we can do it again when he is now the civilian President. Your coach, Amuneke, has proved that he indeed played for FC Barcelona; that he indeed is a legend of Nigerian football and a worthy African Footballer of the Year for that matter. We want you to pay attention to his instructions and know that over 170 Million Nigerians are behind and supporting you,” he said.
Taiwo Adelu :Twitter :@taiwo007, Facebook :Taiwo Adelu, email :[email protected]