BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Cup winner and winning goal-scorer as a player, Emmanuel Amuneke enters a new phase of his career this Sunday as he leads Tanzania into an Africa Cup of Nations duel.
The Taifa Stars play against highly rated Senegal this Sunday night at the June 30 Stadium, Cairo.
For both Amuneke and Tanzania it will be an important occasion. For Amuneke, it will be his first match as a coach in Africa’s premier competition. He had been a winner as a player in his first appearance in the competition in 1994 in Tunisia. Will he also be a winner in his first appearance as a coach in the competition?
Cairo was the stage where he first made great impression as a speedy winger in Nigeria’s U-23 side at the 1991 All Africa Games.
He got the attention of the elite side, Zamalek in Cairo and won not just laurels with the club, but admiration from the Cairo fans.
Has he built a fan base in Cairo? The events of this Sunday night will prove that. He has remarked that he expected the Cairo fans to support his side in the tournament as he hoped to steer the team into the Round of 16.
For Tanzania, they will be playing their first Africa Cup of Nations match in 39 years since playing a 1-1 draw with Cote d’Ivoire in Lagos on March 15, 1980.
Will they be able to hold another West African side, Senegal this time around? Luckily for them, the dreaded Sadio Mane is suspended for this encounter.