U17 AFCON: World Cup Qualification a must for Nigeria – Amunike


Former Golden Eaglets coach Emmanuel Amunike has warned the current leadership of the team that qualification for the World Cup is the main priority.

Nigeria face South Africa in their final group game for an automatic qualification spot in the quarter-final of the CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations, and Amunike has advised the Eaglets coach, Nduka Ugbade, on how to handle the possibility of elimination from the AFCON U17 tournament.


A draw will be enough for Nigeria to go through the next round, but the team needs to bounce back from the defeat to Morocco.

South Africa have surprised many with their performance against Zambia, and proven they are no pushovers following the 3-2 victory against the Chipolopolo.

Emmanuel Amunike says the Eaglets should use the flanks more rather than going through the middle whenever they face a side that defends similarly to South Africa.

He also said that the team should approach the game with calmness and a clear game plan.

“My advise to the handlers is that when you have an opposition that is playing in a different format and are defending very deep; closing all the possible spaces that an opponent can exploit, it is advisable to go through the wing. That will make the opponent open up more and will facilitate those players with talent to have the possibility of one on one dribbles.

“For me, the team is very good and they are very young and there are a lot of time left for the team to grow and develop, but the important thing is to pick a ticket to the World Cup.”

“I remember in 2014 when we went to Niger and we came fourth, people were saying a lot of things, that the team is not good. But the reality is that at this level your main priority is to pick a ticket, it’s when you get to the World Cup then you aim to win that.

“I think it’s important that the players and the coaching crew remain calm even though they lost their second game. They will have to work out a plan that will aid them in the possibility of winning the next game against South Africa.”


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