Football

Nigerian coach Amunike seeks new job

Emmanuel Amunike has announced that he is open to new job offers, four months after he left his role as coach of Tanzania by mutual consent.

The 48-year-old, who led the Taifa Stars to their first Africa Cup of Nations since 1980, paid the price for the team’s failure to progress to the knock-out stages of Egypt 2019 after finishing bottom of their group with three defeats.

The 1994 African Footballer of the Year, who had previously managed his country’s youth teams and Sudanese club SC Khartoum, is now seeking a fresh start.

“I’m very open to any positive offer that comes because I’ve spent the last few weeks learning new ideas and methods,” Amunike told BBC Sport from his base in Spain.

“As a manager, you need to be honest with yourself and even though Tanzania is a closed chapter, I picked up valuable lessons from that job. I want a fresh start and it has to be something that is right, and hopefully, the ambition will align with mine.”

Following his rising profile on the continent, Amunike has inevitably been linked with the Nigeria job in the future by the local media. And despite leaving his last two roles in East Africa by mutual consent, the former Barcelona and Portugal’s Sporting Club player is not restricting himself to the continent.

“We must respect those who currently hold coaching posts in Nigeria and elsewhere. Personally, I am just looking forward to the next challenge with optimism,” he said. “Whether it is in Africa or anywhere that something comes up, you need to be available for it if it’s something you want to do and believe in.”

Amunike was the assistant coach when Nigeria won the Fifa U-17 World Cup trophy for a record fourth time in the United Arab Emirates in 2013. Two years later, he led Nigeria to a fifth U-17 World Cup title in Chile and, revered as a proven youth manager, he was swiftly promoted to coach the U-20 side the Flying Eagles.

As a player, he was a key part of the Super Eagles team, scoring both goals at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia where 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.

 

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