AFRICA

Former Barcelona winger Amunike appointed coach of Tanzania

Former Barcelona winger Amunike appointed coach of Tanzania

AI Project

REUTERS

Perhaps, Amunike is best remembered for scoring Nigeria’s winning goal against Argentina in the 1996 Olympics final.

Tanzania have appointed former Nigeria and FC Barcelona winger Emmanuel Amunike as the new head coach of the national team.

The 47-year-old tactician signed a two-year contract as he looks to guide the Taifa Stars to the 2019 Africa Cup on Nations.

Amunike replaces local coach Salum Mayanga, who had been in charge since last year but was axed for poor results.

The Nigerian faces a huge task to change the fortunes of Tanzania, currently ranked 140 on the Fifa rankings.

The best candidate

Tanzanian Football Federation (TFF) president Wallace Karia said Amunike was the best man for the job among several applicants.

"We had so many applications for the Taifa Stars job but after looking at all factors Amunike emerged as the best candidate for the job," Karia was cited as saying by Nigerian news site The Cable.

"He has established himself and he has been successful both as a player and coach.

"We will give him all the support he needs to ensure he accomplishes his mission and our focus lies on the 2019 African Cup of Nations."

The newly appointed coach expressed his gratitude to the TFF for having faith in him and promised to achieve the established goals.

"I am happy to have taken up the job as the new Tanzania coach," he told Tanzanian media.

"The role comes with a lot of responsibilities but I am very optimistic together we can achieve the goals for the team across the continent."

Legendary Nigeria winger

As a player, Amunike was a key part of the Nigeria team at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, where he scored both goals in the Super Eagles’ 2-1 victory against Zambia, securing the nation’s second title.

Perhaps, he is best remembered for netting the winner as Nigeria stunned Argentina 3-2 in the 1996 Olympic football final in Atlanta, becoming the first African nation to achieve gold in this sport.

He also represented Nigeria in the 1994 World Cup, the nation’s first appearance in the competition, scoring against Bulgaria and Italy.

At club level, Amunike featured for the likes of SC Zamalek, Sporting Lisbon and FC Barcelona.

A serious knee injury prevented him from truly attaining his full potential in Catalonia.

His coaching stints have seen him take charge of Nigerian clubs Julius Berger and Ocean Boys, as well as Sudan’s Al Khartoum and Nigeria U17 squad.

In 2015, he led the Golden Eaglets to World Cup glory.

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