Lagos – Emmanuel Amuneke, coach of the Tanzanian national team, says the team is grateful to God for their qualifying for the finals of the African Cup of Nations after 39 years.
Tanzania finished second in Group L with eight points behind leaders, Uganda.
Amuneke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone on Tuesday from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Tuesday that it was great to be back to AFCON after 39 years.
“We thank God who made this qualification possible. Our qualification is the work of God. Also, Tanzanians told themselves that they want to qualify for AFCON,’’ he said.
He said that it was a thing of joy that 55 million Tanzanians are celebrating the qualification.
Amuneke said in spite of the qualification, a lot of work would be done to put the “Taifa Stars’’ in good shape for the finals of AFCON taking place in Egypt in June.
According to him, preparations for the tournament have commenced and the team will be focused.
“We have qualified but we need to change our mindset that we have qualified to preparation for the main tournament. People are no longer talking about the qualification but the impact we will make in the tournament,’’ he said.
The coach said that new players that would add value to the team and create positive impact would be invited for final preparations of the AFCON tournament.
“Any player that will create positive impact and add value to the team will be called to camp in preparation for the tournament. The task ahead will not be easy and we need our best hands to accomplish it,’’ Amuneke said.
He also commended Belgium-based forward, Victor Osimhen, for scoring a hat-trick in the Africa U-23 qualifying match against Libya in Asaba.
“I congratulate the U-23 team and my players, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Nwakali and Samuel Chukwueze for their outstanding performances during the encounter,’’ he said.
Amuneke coached the three players who were members of the Nigerian U-17 team that won the FIFA World Cup in Chile in 2015. (NAN)