By Dehinbo Timothy,
With four games played and two more to go for the qualification series of the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon, it’s been an interesting run of the qualifiers coming from the year 2017 till now.
Group L in context now, has been a group filled with much exciting scenes and games. After 4 round of matches, Uganda looks to have sealed qualification as the winner of the group, as they currently have 10 points, with Tanzania 2nd with 5 points, Cape Verde in 3rd with 4 points, and Lesotho bottom with just two points.
This weekend, game round 5 will hold, and Uganda hosts Cape Verde, while Lesotho host Tanzania.
Tanzania could seal qualification if they get a win in Lesotho, depending on results elsewhere.
Ahead of the game, Lesotho v Tanzania, Soka25east had the Taifa stars coach in a telephone Interview, via its Correspondent, Dehinbo Timothy. And he broke down a lot in the interview.
SOKA25EAST: Depending on the result elsewhere, a win for Tanzania against Lesotho at the weekend guarantees Afcon 2019, how are you anticipating the game? And plans going into the game?
AMUNEKE: We are aware that our group is still open, except Uganda who has much more points, we are second with 5 and Cape Verde with 4.
Of course the group has been so tight, but the most important thing is to do our job, playing against Lesotho, to make sure we do not lose, but win or get a point over there, knowing that ou last game against Uganda will be in Tanzania, where we can play and win also to guarantee our qualification.
So the most important thing now for us is to be calm, and remain focused, and continue to see how we can come up with a game plan and achieve our Objectives in Lesotho.
SOKA25EAST: The last result in Dar es Salaam against Lesotho wasn’t too good for Tanzania, a 1-1 draw, do you think it would affect your players’ mindset into the game? Though you weren’t the coach then.
AMUNEKE: It’s true that we played a 1-1 draw in Dar es Salaam, but of course the team that played in that game, compared to the team now isn’t same.
There has been a lot of changes, improvement, and we’re aware that Lesotho is a very good side, but, every game is totally different, every game has its own challenges, every game comes with different responsibilities.
All we need to do is to review our last game against them at home, and look at our previous game last month, what we have done good, and what we have done wrong, and see how we can strengthen ourselves as a team, and then to achieve a positive result in Lesotho.
Everybody wants to be at the AFCON proper, and our wish and desire as well is to be in Cameroon, being among the teams that will participate, which is a good thing for us as a team, a good team thing for our players individually, and as a country.
SOKA25EAST: Finally, AFCON 2019 is looking likely for your team, what’s the goal for the competition when qualification is sealed, and how would you feel delivering at the first task given by the TFF?
AMUNEKE: Of course it’s looking likely, as you mentioned, that’s our wish but we just have to be calm and stay focused, we mustn’t be carried away by the moment and not carried away by our previous success, but continue to work and push.
Yes, the first task given to me by the Tanzanian Football Federation, I’m pleased with it, and I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, and privilege, to coach their team, but as I said earlier, one needs to be calm, quiet and believe in his ability.
In whatever you do, you have got to believe in yourself, even if people doubt, of course in Africa, we hardly believe in ourselves, but one doesn’t need to bother about that. There’s always a quality and gift God gave every individual, and everyone represents in the area they belong.
So, if I have been a player, and after playing, I’ve been a coach, that means that that’s the gift that God has given to me, so all I need a to do is see how I can improve as a coach daily, and learn from a lot of things. How I can also be able to bring my experience from all my participation as a player and also as a coach, so I’m grateful if we can be able to deliver this to the Tanzanian people.
For over 36 years or so, they have never participated in any major tournament, so if I can hand them this, I think it would be the greatest Joy for the Tanzanians, and I’ll also be happy that I’m part of the team that changed history in Tanzanian Football.
SOKA25EAST: Thank you so much for your time with us, and we wish you Goodluck against Lesotho.
AMUNEKE: Thank You so Much.