Calabar - Coach of national Under-17 team Emmanuel Amuneke
is optimistic that the Golden Eaglets would be battle ready for their upcoming
African Championship qualifier against Democratic Republic of Congo after their
impressive performance on a two-match to Egypt.
In a postmortem of their two-match tour of Cairo, Amuneke
said he was impressed with the team's overall performance even as he singled
out nail-as-hard defender, Usman Abass for special praise.
"If you compare the Egyptian we met in Cairo with the
one we met in Kaduna, you would see that there is a marked difference with the team
we beat in Kaduna and I really commend our boys for being able to withstand the
"They are physically strong and more tactically aware
and it takes a team with good mental attitude to deal with them and I'm happy we
came out with good results."
The 'Boys from Nigeria' drew goalless with Egypt last Friday and followed up with
an impressive 4-2 win on Sunday but the
name on the lips of everyone was that of Abuja-based Heart FC
defender, Usman Abass who shone
like a neon light in the dark under the
floodlight of the Cairo Police Sports Stadium.
"Generally, all the players did well because winning or losing, is a team effort and our
objective has always been to play collectively as a team," said Amuneke,
one of the stars of Nigeria' s golden era of the 1990s that won the 1994
African Cup of Nations and Africa's first Olympic soccer Gold medal at Atlanta'96.
"Frankly, I'm really impressed with Abass because he
did so well despite the fact that this was his first match for us.”
"Samuel (Chukwueze), Halilu (Lukman) too are coming up
but on the whole, I'll pick Abass as our best player in the two matches in Cairo,"
In the meantime, the Golden Eaglets started their routine
training on Tuesday evening at the University of Calabar even as Amuneke advised
all to be focused on their upcoming African Championship match against
Democratic Republic of Congo.
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