Amuneke: We must be ready to play any team

Nigeria U-17 trainer, Emmanuel Amuneke, is upbeat about his team’s readiness to defend their crown at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 scheduled for October 17 to November 8.

The Golden Eaglets have been drawn in Group A with hosts Chile, USA and Croatia, following the draw of the tournament held last week in Santiago.

The four-time winners will open their campaign against USA on October 17, 2015 in Santiago.

Three days later, the West Africans will be up against hosts Chile at Vina del Mar before squaring Croatia on October 23, 2105 in Coquimbo.

Amuneke, famed for his days with Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon in the 90’s opened up to after the draw.

Below are excerpts:

What are your thoughts on the draw of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 draw?

We had been waiting anxiously for long to know about the teams we are going to meet. It is interesting that we are in the same group with the host team, Chile. We also have USA and Croatia. It is not an easy group so to speak but we could say the same thing about the other groups. I think our group like the rest is not an easy one and we were not expecting anything less as such. We must be ready to play any team after all, we are the defending champions.


Playing against the host team would always be difficult with the home crowd behind them. How are your boys going to deal with that?

We don’t want to box our minds that we are going to play the host team, rather we want to work well and be ready to have good results against all our group phase opponents. Playing against Chile, USA and Croatia is not going to be easy but the most important thing is for us to keep working hard and prepare well.


Nigeria will face USA in the opening match of the tournament on 17 October 2015. How ready is your team?

I don’t like the word ready because you have to keep on working hard even till the last minutes before kick-off. We are going through the process and when the time comes, we hope to be ready. Preparation is the key for us and we would keep working hard.


What is the general state of your team after your bronze feat at the continental championship in Niger?

I’m not the type that dwells on what is gone; rather I look forward to the future. The most important thing is that we are working and we would continue to work very hard. We would be working specifically with our opponents in mind. We would step up our preparations for the World Cup.