Taifa Stars of Tanzania coach, Emmanuel Amuneke has admitted he will be chasing a rare piece of history with his team at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, but believes they can shine through God’s grace.
The former Super Eagles winger, who was part of Nigeria’s AFCON 1994 winning team in Tunisia, acknowledged that he has already made history for the Tanzanians, in taking them back to the continental showpiece for only the second time in their history.
In fact, the first time Tanzania made it to the AFCON was at Nigeria ’80, when he was just 10 years old, and the 1994 African Footballer of The Year says he is happy to make his mark with Julius Nyerere’s nation.
However, the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning coach, with Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets, is staying humble, as he says he should not be rated better than other Taifa Stars’ coaches before him, as it is God’s grace that has given him the opportunity of rewriting their record books.
He also sent out words of gratitude to officials at Tanzania Football Association (TFA), for believing im him and offering him a stable working environment, as well as to the East African country’s fans for supporting his revival plans with their team.
As he now sets his mind on creating a splash at Egypt 2019 in June/July, the former Zamalek of Egypt, Sporting Lisbon of Portugal and Barcelona of Spain star believes he has been divinely blessed all along.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s draw ceremony in Cairo, Egypt, Amuneke said: “Before I came into Tanzania, there were other coaches. It is not that I am better than them; I am just blessed.
“It is just Grace from God, and I am happy that I have been given the privilege to take a team to the Nations Cup.
“I said one thing at my first press conference: That we are not here to make promises to anybody.
“But, I believed that if we worked very hard we can qualify; and that is exactly what we did as a team.
“From the administrators to the players, to the fans and the fans. From day one, I believed in the project that the federation had.”