Emmanuel Amunike seeking foreign coaching job

Amuneke was part of a golden age of Nigerian
Former international Emmanuel Amuneke was the
assistant coach when Nigeria won the U-17 World
Cup trophy for a record fourth time in the United
Arab Emirates in 2013.
That Golden Eaglet’s class of 2013 include
Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who
was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player,
Watford’s Isaac Success and Liverpool striker Taiwo
Two years later Amuneke led Nigeria to a fifth U-17
title in Chile and, revered as a proven youth
manager, he was swiftly promoted to coach the
U-20 side the Flying Eagles.
Despite a promising start, Sudan shocked Nigeria in
July to book their place at next year’s Under-20
Africa Cup of Nations, eliminating the defending
champions on away goals.
Nigeria had already endured a torrid week after the
players threatened to boycott the game over unpaid
allowances and poor treatment.
“The team went through a tough time and in the end
the boys battled oppositions on and off the pitch,”
reflects Amuneke. “The lack of support, motivation
and basic things a team requires had its effect on
the team – in the end the failure was inevitable.”
Nigeria’s players-turned- coaches
From the class of 94, only Daniel Amokachi
from Nigeria’s golden generation is managing a
professional club in Europe. The former Everton
forward is in charge of Finnish second-tier side
JS Hercules.
Others like Stephen Keshi, Austin Eguavoen,
Samson Siasia and Sunday Oliseh have all
managed the Super Eagles. Michael Emenalo is
currently technical director at Chelsea.
Local media felt one of the country’s brightest
managerial talents was set up for failure, while his
critics insist he was just not good enough.
Now, having been unpaid for eight months and
feeling disrespected by the Nigeria Football
Federation – Amuneke is keen to ply his trade
outside his native country.
Widely linked with Egypt’s Zamalek, Amuneke has
cooled speculation linking him with the manager’s
job at his former club but would relish a chance to
manage the White Knight someday.
“For the past six years I’ve been engaged with the
Nigerian youth teams to produce a new generation
and I’m happy we’ve done that,” he told BBC Sport.
“I’m a coach that is open to every option, if I am
opportune to go to Zamalek that will be a happy
elevation but there is a man in charge at the
“If I get a chance to work somewhere else in Africa
that will be awesome, and if it’s in Europe – where I
obtained all my coaching education – that will be a
big boost for my career.
“I am open to any offers. In football you cannot
limit yourself and wherever I get an offer I will
evaluate it.”
As a player I was passionate about
the game and I am the same now in
a coaching capacity
Emmanuel Amuneke
As well as Zamalek, Amuneke’s played at European
football heavyweights FC Barcelona and Portugal’s
Sporting Club.
But the 45-year-old forced his way into the
consciousness of African football fans during the
final of the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.
He scored both his side’s goals as Nigeria beat
Zambia 2-1 to secure their second African title.
He also played for the Super Eagles at the 1994
World Cup – scoring memorable goals against
Bulgaria and Italy.
Two years after that triumph in Tunisia, he scored
the winner again as Nigeria stunned Argentina 3-2
in the 1996 Olympic football final in Atlanta to
become the first African football nation to win
Olympic gold.
Winning the Confederation of African Football
African Player of the Year award in 1994 and
Olympic gold were supposed to be indicative of the
long international career that beckoned.
But injuries put paid to that dream, as he made his
last appearance for the Super Eagles in 2000 before
obtaining his coaching badges with the Spanish
Football Association at his home base in Santander.
Now, armed with Uefa’s highest coaching
qualification – a Uefa Pro coaching licence –
Amuneke wants to build a solid reputation outside
and enhance his abilities.
“Of course everyone wants to be paid for doing
their jobs, but when you are doing what you love
the most – you don’t put money first,” he said.
“As a player I was passionate about the game and I
am the same now in a coaching capacity.
“It took a while for me to decide to be a coach; I
gave it a strong thought, evaluated it and decided it
is something I could do.
“But in Africa the challenges are always there, a lot
of stress, obstacles and factors that will hamper
what you want to achieve.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for Nigeria,
to coach and for my achievements. But I’m aware
that the journey is still far, I still have a long way to
go as a coach.
“All I need to do now is to update myself, I’m
aware that football is constantly changing. What is
good today is outdated tomorrow.
“I just want to keep updating myself and hopefully
when I get a chance to manage a team I will be
able to express and transmit the ideas to the
“At the end of the day you want the players to
perform the way you want them to play. For you to
do that you must also be strongly knowledgeable.
“Football is changing from back when I played, with
all due respect to the 1980s the game continues to
change, and most of these players nowadays are
well educated about the game.
“As a coach you must be at the top of your
profession to give the players the preparations that
will enable them perform at
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