Emmanuel Amuneke Denies Sack, Clarifies Role At El-Makassa

Former Super Eagles winger Emmanuel Amuneke has clarified his position at Egyptian Premier League side Misr El-Makasa after reports emerged that he had been sacked after only 28 days in charge.

Amuneke told the BBC that he only transitioned to another role within the club necessitating a change in his title from head coach to director of the club’s academies across Africa.

The 1994 African Player of the Year was unveiled as manager of the struggling club side last month replacing Ahmed “Mido” Hossam.

He’d previously been in charge of Tanzania’s Taifa Stars who he led to the group stage of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt before leaving by mutual consent after they failed to make the knockout stage.

But reports emerged at the weekend that the former Zamalek player has been sacked after just two games in charge and replaced as El-Makasa head coach by Ehab Galal.

The club then put out a statement on Sunday confirming the change and announcing Galal as Amuneke’s replacement.

But speaking to BBC Sport, Amuneke clarified that he still retains a job at the Egyptian side but will no longer be in charge of the club’s first team.

“I’m still with the team, there is no sack involved as reported because Makkasa is a massive group and the past year has seen them trying to create projects across the continent,” Amuneke told BBC Sport.

“When I was still working in Tanzania, they came to the country to discuss with the government about investing in the east African country. They plan to invest in Tanzania, Mali and possibly in Nigeria in the future.

“We’ve been discussing about the academies, we are still looking at the contractual options because this is a long-term project and I wouldn’t want it to affect any other coaching opportunities.”

Amuneke took charge of three matches in his brief spell as coach drawing 1-1 against Smouha and Al Entag Harbi before losing 0-1 to Tala’ea El Gaish in the Egyptian Cup. 

The club is currently struggling in the Egyptian league and caught up in the relegation dogfight, lying in 16th place on 14 points.

 “The decision to bring in a new coach is only logical because accepting to work on this big project means it will be difficult for me to combine both roles,” he added.

“We’ll see how things pan out but I am still here working with Makkhasa.”

Amuneke’s coaching career has seen him take charge of Nigeria’s youth teams and Sudanese club SC Khartoum.

He 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 the Golden Eaglets 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.