Nigeria will qualify for Zambia 2017-Amuneke

Zenith

Emmanuel Amuneke has assured Nigerians that the Flying Eagles will defend the CAF U-20 title in next year's edition in Zambia.

The ex-African Footballer of The Year said in an interview with CAF as his team shape up for this weekend tie against Burundi at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura.

“We are preparing, and have been working pretty hard for the match against Burundi.

“They (players) know what is expected of them and collectively as a team, we are looking forward to the match with optimism. Individually and collectively, we are doing everything to be on the same page and when we get to Burundi (Bujumbura), we are going to give a very good account of ourselves as a team,” noted the former Barcelona winger.

Amuneke said that he was not under pressure to qualify Nigeria for the championship.

“I’m not under any pressure but our business now is qualification for the U-20 AFCON in Zambia. I’m not going to discuss what I know about Burundi here but what I know is that we are going to face a formidable team; and I’m confident we would be ready to play them in their home and when they come here for the return match.

“Though there are factors like high altitude as well as the timing of the match to deal with, we are preparing our players psychologically to be ready for these challenges.”

The Nigeria trainer poured cold water on reports casting doubts over the availability of leading marksman Osimhen, who sustained a shoulder injury in the friendly against the Olympic team last week.

“Victor (Osimhen) is fine and has resumed training. This team is not only about Osimhen. We are not only looking up to Osimhen against Burundi. If he’s not available, there would be somebody to take his place.

“I don’t depend on only one or two players. We are building a team that can play collectively. Osimhen is important to our team but we have other important players in the team as well,” he concluded.