Golden Eaglets coach, Emmanuel Amunike, wants the senior national team, the Super Eagles, to rediscover its goal scoring boots. In this interview with The Point, Amunike, who will turn 44 on Christmas day, opens up on how best the Sunday Oliseh-led technical crew can address the team’s goal drought in 2016. Excerpts…
How are you doing after the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile?
I’m doing very well and I’m grateful to God. We thank God that we went to Chile and at the end of the day; the objective of defending thetitle was achieved. And we are grateful to God for making it possible and alsoto Nigerians for giving us the opportunity to serve them. Hopefully, we will continue to serve them.
What were the lessons learned from Chile?
We have learnt that in life you have to be truthful to yourself. You must know that in whatever you do, if you’re honest about what you want to achieve, then there will be a way to achieve it. We knew that the road would not be easy but through hard work, patience and God, we were able to do it. We have come to atime where football should be a priority to Nigerians because football unites everybody; it brings a lot of happiness to the people. I told the team in Chile that many Nigerians would be awake watching the match. A lot of people earn N20,000 while some others earn N15,000 and N10,000 monthly; sometimes the money is not regular but they will stay awake to watch you play. The only thing you owe them is to put up your best and put smiles on their faces so that tomorrow when they are going to work, they won’t be bothered about the sleepless night. I’m glad that the boys were able to listen to instructions. They were able to act maturely and we were able to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
Since the end of the tournament, have you been in touch with the players?
We have been communicating. We call each other to know how everyone is doing and of course everybody is back to their various homes. My prayer for them is to remain focused and not to be carried away.
What is your take on the recent announcement by the Nigeria Football Federation President, Pinnick Amaju, that you would retain the U-17 job?
It is a good gesture from the president but he has to ask a lot of questions. It is not just about announcing people’s name because the belief in Nigeria is that when people give you a job, they think they are just doing you a favour. I’m a professional and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to serve Nigeria. I have been there for four years and during this period; we have been able to do our best. We have been able to seta structure for the youth teams. It is left for us to continue. Where I am going to be tomorrow, I can’t actually tell you. It is a good thing from the president but there are a lot of things one will put into consideration. I have my family, I have two boys growing up. Of course, I would like to be close to them and to guide them. There are a lot of things but it is a good gesture from him.
Perhaps you want to sit down with the president and the technical committee to discuss the terms?
It is not about the terms. When the issue comes up, I’m somebody that is realistic; I’m honest in what I’m doing. So, there is no need beating about the bush. All over the world, before you employ somebody in football, there are processes
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