CAIRO, Egypt, Apr 13 – Tanzania head coach Emmanuel Amunike says he is looking forward with bated breath for the East African derby at the 2019 African Cup of Nations when the Taifa Stars clash with Kenya in their Group C match on June 27 in Cairo.
The two sets of stars were pooled together during Friday night’s draw in Giza and Amunike is relishing the prospect of facing his brothers from across the border.
“Kenya and Tanzania we are like brothers. There’s only a short one hour flight separating us. There is a lot of mutual respect between Kenya and Tanzania and I know we will play some good football and showcase East African football to the rest of the world,” Amunike told Capital Sport in Cairo.
He added; “This is the first time that four nations from East Africa have qualified for the Cup of Nations and it shows that football in the region is growing. I am hoping we all can do well. We are in the same group with Kenya unfortunately, but we have to play.”
Amunike who helped Tanzania qualify for the Cup of Nations for the first time in 39 years believes the team has a good chance to progress to the knockout stages despite also having to deal with heavyweights Algeria and Senegal.
“I am confident in what I am doing and all we have to do now is to work to achieve our targets,” the Nigerian tactician stated.
He added; “It’s a good draw. We have to be realistic. All teams who made it here are all good and noe team came here without fighting. If you are here, you must be ready to play anyone. You can’t wish for an easy pool. All 24 teams are tough.”
The tactician now says the hard work begins as he goes back to Dar es Salaam to draft a plan for the team’s training ahead of the tournament.
Amunike who played in Egypt for Zamalek in the mid-90s is hopeful that the fans who still remember his name and adore him hugely will come out and support him and his Taifa Stars as they look to perform well.
“Egyptians will definitely come to support me but our objective is to prepare well because even if they support you but we don’t do the right thing on the pitch it will have no meaning. But it will be good to enjoy the support from the local fans,” the AFCON winner with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in 1994 stated.