By Kate Obodo
Former Eagles winger, Emmanuel Amuneke has expressed optimism in Nigeria qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa with a proviso â€œif the team work harder in their remaining matches.â€
According to him, it is still possible for the Eaglesâ€™ â€œto be at the World Cupâ€, adding that â€œit only requires the coaches and the entire players to have a recap of what went wrong in their last match and see how they can make amends.â€
â€œFootball is not mathematics and sometimes it could be difficult to predict the outcome. We can still qualify, but at the same time we have to take into cognizanceÂ the fact that the Tunisians have moreÂ advantage thanÂ us.
â€œThis isÂ the more reason we need to do better in our remaining two matches. We have to be more focussed and determined and hope and pray that they (Tunisian) will fail in any of their matches. But thenÂ we have to do everything possible to be in this competition, we deserve to be in the 2010 World Cup especially as it is the first ever to be staged inÂ Africa. It is just unfortunate that for the pastÂ eight years the countryâ€™s football has been on the declin,â€ the former Barcelona of Spain player told Saturday Vanguard sports.
When asked if he is satisfied with the list 30 players Green Eagles coach Shiabu Amodu made public recently, Amuneke said he has no problem with players but that his concern is onÂ the capability of the players. He said the fact that players have been invited does not make any difference but the impact that the players will make is what is important, adding that in as much as the players are called upon to play, they should realize the task ahead of them.
â€œIt is not about inviting manyÂ players to play for the national team, is not evenÂ enoughÂ wearingÂ the green and white jersey but players who will deliver appropriately, players who can do the country proud. The most important thing is for the players to know why they are in the team. The fact that we have failed to top the group does not count but the ability to correct ourÂ mistakes.
â€œNo matter how big the club a player is playing for, if he can not deliver he is not worthy to be a player. So, inÂ this case, the players should know their purpose in the team. They should know they are playing for their father land. Iâ€™m not the coach to determine who plays well or not, all am wishing them is just the best in their remaining matchesâ€, Amuneke said.