Nigeria players during a training session (Reuters)
Nigeria’s assistant coach Emmanuel Amuneke admitted that his side will face an uphill struggle against Egypt in the African Nations Cup qualifiers on Tuesday, saying that the Super Eagles have to learn from mistakes they made in Kaduna.
A last gasp-goal from Roma's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah gave the Pharaohs a late equaliser to remain on top of the group with four points, two ahead second-placed Nigeria.
With only the group winners guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria have no choice but to beat Egypt to keep their hopes alive in the African qualifiers.
"The game on Tuesday would be different from last Friday’s (in Kaduna) where we unfortunately conceded a late goal. It's going to be tougher," Amuneke, the African player of the year in 1994, told the CAF official website on Monday.
"We would have to apply a lot of wisdom and cannot afford some of the mistakes we made in Kaduna. I wouldn't subscribe to the notion that we were tactically naive against Egypt in Kaduna because that was a match we would have won with some luck.
"In football, you don't talk about what should have been but we are going to Alexandria with optimism and we would use our strength positively," Amuneke added.
The former Zamalek forward affirmed that from his previous experience with the Cairo giants (1992-1994), Egypt will be strongly backed by their fans in the the Mediterranean city.
"From experience, Egyptians are very passionate about football and I’m not surprised the game will be played in Alexandria in order to guarantee maximum support," Amuneke said.
Despite the current crowd ban in Egypt, the home side will be boosted by the presence of 40,000 supporters when they host Nigeria at Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.
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