Amuneke pre­dicts tough test against gutsy Aussies

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Golden Ea­glets Head Coach Em­manuel Amuneke has ad­mit­ted that their FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 Round of 16 op­po­nent, Aus­tralia would be a hard nut to crack to­mor­row at the Es­ta­dio Sausal­ito in Vina Del Mar.

The Aussies showed some re­mark­ably tenac­ity to ad­vance from the tour­na­ment’s sup­posed group of death (Group D) where they lost 4-1 to Ger­many, drew goal­less with Mex­ico and edged Ar­gentina 2-1.

“We have been look­ing for­ward to the team we are go­ing to play and to­day (Sun­day), we re­al­ized it would be Aus­tralia. At this stage, ev­ery­body that has qual­i­fied must be re­spected,” ex­plained Amuneke. “They (Aus­tralia) are a very good side be­cause we saw their match against Ar­gentina; they are a very good side and we have to re­spect them.”

While Nige­ria have not lost a sec­ond round match in the cham­pi­onship’s his­tory, Aus­tralia were beaten 4-0 by Uzbek­istan in their last Round of 16 ap­pear­ance at Mex­ico 2011. Yet, Amuneke in­sisted the Golden Ea­glets must be at their best as Chile 2015 en­ters the knock­out stages.

“We have to keep work­ing hard and pre­pare our play­ers phys­i­cally and psy­cho­log­i­cally for the match (against Aus­tralia) es­pe­cially af­ter los­ing our last group match to Croa­tia. We have to let the play­ers re­al­ize that the stage we are in now is cru­cial and it needs high level of con­cen­tra­tion from them.

“It is a wel­come de­vel­op­ment (Ea­glets ver­sus Aus­tralia) and be­fore Wed­nes­day, we would eval­u­ate our play­ers and see their state of mind but hope­fully, all of them would be ready to play on Wed­nes­day,” Amuneke as­sured.

The Ea­glets have, in the mean­time, been train­ing in Vina del Mar since ar­riv­ing there on Satur­day ahead of their date against the Aussies.

PHOTO LMC

God­win Aguda of Rangers is hotly chased by David Ayeni of Kwara United dur­ing their match in the on­go­ing Nige­ria Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball League.

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