Nigeria legend Amuneke not giving up on coaching in Europe


African football great Emmanuel Amuneke is unmoved by constant snubs by Spanish teams in the past, claiming he would continue to ‘make himself available’ for any chance.

After a remarkable career that saw him represent Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona and Albacete as well as getting crowned as 1994 African Player of the Year, the 49-year-old went into administration.

Amuneke worked as an assistant manager at Saudi Arabian side Al Hazm before leading Nigeria to 2015 U17 World Cup glory in Chile before taking charge of Al Khartoum after a failed expedition as Nigeria U20 boss.

He was named as Tanzania senior national team coach after a season in Sudan. There, he led the East African nation to their first Africa Cup of Nations in 2019. The Taifa Stars’ failure in Egypt saw him shown the exit door by Tanzania Football Federation.

Having left his role at Egyptian side Misr El-Makkasa, the Nigerian football great is hoping to return to management – with Europe his preferred destination.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing that despite playing here and undergoing your coaching training in Spain, Africans are never considered for a job in the country,” Amuneke told BBC Sport Africa.

“I returned to Spain after winning the Under-17 World Cup and applied for jobs in the Spanish Leagues, but I was overlooked and not even shortlisted for interviews.

“A second division side in Spain showed strong interest through an agent, but despite my experience of playing in Spain, undertaking my coaching trainings here and winning the World Cup, it was not enough for them to put their trust in me.

“I’m not discouraged about this situation. I will continue to make myself available for any opportunities that may come or any vacant jobs that are open because Spain is where my family lives.”

“You can only keep knocking on different doors politely with a positive mindset that one day they will open it for you,” he continued.

“No one should feel entitled to any job or seek a tokenism role, but instead continue to seek an equal opportunity like other managers.

“You never know, the next job might be in the Spanish league or elsewhere. I am happy with what I have achieved and what I am doing.

“I can only continue to stay optimistic and hopefully the objective [to manage in Spain] will be achieved.”