Amuneke is a good risk taker, says Adepoju
When coach Emmanuel Amuneke picked up the job of qualifying the Taifa Stars of Tanzania to the 2019 AFCON, some Nigerians felt he was embarking on an‘ impossible mission,’ considering the long absence of the East Africans from the African Nations Cup. For 39 years, Tanzania had struggled without success to return to the competition.
But Amuneke, a former Super Eagles assistant coach, was able to re-write history on Sunday by guiding the Taifa Stars to their first African Cup of Nations appearance in 39 years, defeating the Cranes of Uganda 3-0 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
To former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, and former Super Eagles assistant coach, Joe Erico, the feat by Amuneke in Tanzania is worth celebrating.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Adepoju, who played most of his career in Spain, amassing La Liga totals of 175 games and 22 goals over the course of seven seasons, stated that he had always known Amuneke as a coach, who will put in his best to get results.
He added: “Amuneke is a quality coach, and I am happy he was able to demonstrate that in Tanzania. From when he was a coach with Julius Berger, Ocean Boys and the national U-17 team, Golden Eaglets, Amuneke has always shown his hunger for greatness. I wish him the best at the Nations Cup,” Adepoju stated.
On his part, Erico, who was part of the Super Eagles team to Mali 2002 African Cup of Nations, saluted Amuneke for his ability to bring out the best in talented players in Tanzania. “Tanzania had been down for so long, but that does not mean they don’t have good players. The problem had been failure on the part of their coaches to identify the quality ones. I am happy Amuneke was able to do that. I wish him well,” Erico stated. Amuneke’s Tanzania finished second in group L with eight points, five behind leaders, the Cranes of Uganda, who have also qualified for Africa’s biggest football showpiece event.
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