Tanzania’s head coach, Emmanuel Amunike may be a Nigerian football legend, but he has predicted that big names like his country, host Egypt and Senegal will exit the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations in the early stages.
The former Barcelona player thinks some of the minnows will have a point to prove at the tournament that will have 24 teams, a first in African football history.
“Don’t be surprised if you see some of these so-called big teams packing their bags early in the tournament,” Amunike was quoted by the BBC.
“I personally don’t fear any team and I know the so-called small teams are going to the Nations Cup with a lot of appetite to try and prove a point.”
“Every team that has qualified is strong enough and now it’s about how much work the technical teams and players do, the small details will count during the tournament, but I like the hunger that my team has,” he added.
The 48-year-old coach also claimed that their first priority as Tanzania is to prove their critics wrong especially those who were not giving them any chance of making it that the tournament.
“Many people thought Tanzania could not qualify and now we are there and we need to prove yet another point,” he noted.
The 1994 African Footballer of the Year also believes expanding the tournament from 16 teams to 24 is a good thing as far as African football development is concerned.
“It is good CAF has adopted the 24-team system which gives a chance to many other teams. Generally, teams have improved because younger boys have changed their attitudes and want to shine to improve their daily lives and families,” he noted.
Amunike, who coached Nigeria to the 2015 U-17 World Cup, has the full backing of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) much as Tanzania qualified on the last day of the qualifiers after thrashing with a 3-0 victory. It will be their first finals’ appearance since 1980 and they will face Algeria, Senegal and Kenya in Group C.