The Nigeria Assistant coach, Emmanuel Amuneke has told CAF that no quarter would be asked and none would be given when the Super Eagles battle Egypt on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 in a Group G clash in Alexandria.
The Super Eagles were dramatically held to a 1-1 draw last Friday in Kaduna after a last-gasp equalizer by Mohamed Salah, and Emmanuel Amuneke admits that the Borg El Arab cauldron would not be for the faint-hearted for obvious reasons.
“From experience, Egyptians are very passionate about football and I’m not surprised the game will be played in Alexandria in order to guarantee maximum support,” noted Amuneke who had a glorious career with Egyptian giants, Zamalek in the 1990’s.
“The game on Tuesday would be different from last Friday’s (in Kaduna) where we unfortunately conceded a late goal. It’s going to be tougher.
Emmanuel Amuneke said, we would have to apply a lot of wisdom and cannot afford some of the mistakes we made in Kaduna. I wouldn’t subscribe to the notion that we were tactically naive against Egypt in Kaduna because that was a match we would have won with some luck.
“In football, you don’t talk about what should have been but we are going to Alexandria with optimism and we would use our strength positively,” said the former Barcelona winger.
The Super Eagles’ best result away to Egypt in previous encounters was a goalless draw in a 1988 AFCON qualifier, whilst the Egyptians inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the West Africans during the last meeting between the two sides, at the group phase of the 2010 AFCON.
Incidentally, the Super Eagles’ last visit to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria was 10-years ago, losing 1-0 to Cote d’Ivoire at the semi-final of the AFCON 2006.
Yet, Super Eagles’ newly installed captain, John Mikel Obi has hinted that nothing would be taken for granted against the seven-time African champions in a game the latter needs a victory to confirm their ticket to Gabon.
“It’s a massive battle that we are going for (against Egypt on Tuesday), and there should be no illusion about it,” said the Chelsea midfielder who was part of the team’s last visit to Alexandria a decade ago.
“We have to face reality, and everyone has to give more than 100 per cent because we just have to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. We have to go to Alexandria and fight with everything we have.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has informed that the Super Eagles would not be lacking fans’ support in Alexandria on Tuesday with arrangements in place to ferry the team, government officials as well as fans for the decisive encounter.
Group G has been reduced to three teams following the withdrawal of Chad. The Pharaohs lead the pack on four points, two richer than Nigeria. Tanzania has just a point. [Emmanuel Amuneke]