By Desmond Ejibas
Former Super Eagles winger, Emmanuel Amuneke, has urged the team to remain focused in their preparation and at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Nigeria is in group D alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in the competition which kicks off on June 14 and ends on July 15.
Amuneke, Coach of the Nigerian U-17 team that won the World Cup in Chile in 2015, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the Eagles were blessed with young players.
“The team has done the country proud so far in their preparations. They should remain focused. The coaching crew should look at their weak points and strengths and improve on them.
“ I wish them all the best. Nigerians are expecting a lot from them.
“I pray that this young generation of players we have now should have the strength to do the country and continent proud,’’ he told NAN on telephone from Spain.
Amuneke, also a former FC Barcelona of Spain winger, said that it was a plus for Nigeria to present young players in the World Cup.
“The good thing is that we have young players, people with a lot of determination.
“For some of our players, this will be their first experience in the World Cup, this will be the first time in their careers playing in the World Cup.
“I see a lot of enthusiasm and hunger in them,’’ he said.
According to him, in the world now, football has changed a lot.
“ At the club level, people are going for young players that can fit into their plans.
“I am happy with the Coach Gernot Rohr for the changes he made in the team. We have a continuity for the future.
“ But, I must caution that the World Cup is not a child’s game,’’ he told NAN.
Amunuke said that other teams in Nigeria’s group were good and capable of giving a good account of themselves.
He said: “These teams are good with quality players. Argentina, Croatia and Iceland are good. We must know how to manage the game.
“We must know how to play when we have the ball and when we do not have the ball.’’
NAN reports that Nigeria will be making its sixth appearance I n the Mundial having featured in the USA 1994, France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.