Emmanuel Amuneke

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Emmanuel Amuneke
Personal information
Full name Emmanuel Amuneke
Date of birth (1970-12-25) 25 December 1970 (age 44)
Place of birth Eze Obodo, Nigeria
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current team
Ocean Boys (coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1991 Julius Berger 8 (0)
1991–1994 Zamalek 71 (26)
1994–1996 Sporting CP 51 (17)
1996–2000 Barcelona 19 (1)
2000–2002 Albacete 17 (1)
2003 Busan I'Cons 0 (0)
2003–2004 Al-Wahdat 6 (0)
National team
1993–2001 Nigeria 27 (9)
Teams managed
2008 Al Hazm (assistant)
2008–2009 Julius Berger
2009– Ocean Boys
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Emmanuel Amuneke (often misspelled Amunike; born 25 December 1970 in Eze Obodo) is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a left winger, and a current coach.

His professional career was blighted by injury. He represented Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup.[1]

Club career[edit]

In his early career, Amuneke won the domestic league titles in Nigeria and Egypt, while playing for Julius Berger F.C. and Zamalek SC respectively. In 1994, he signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal, scoring seven league goals in his first season, including one against S.L. Benfica in the Lisbon derby (1–0 home win on 1 December 1994), adding the campaign's Portuguese Cup.

In the 1996 December transfer window, Amuneke was bought by La Liga giants FC Barcelona for US$3.6 million, making his official debut on the 22nd in a 1–0 home win against Celta de Vigo,[2] and scoring on 16 March of the following year in a 1–0 success at CD Logroñés.[3] His spell in Catalonia would be effectively ended after the 1997 off-season, after he suffered a serious knee injury, following which he appeared very rarely for the club (only three league games in three full seasons combined).

Amuneke never fully recovered from his condition after being released by Barça in 2000. He had a two-year spell at Albacete Balompié, playing in the Segunda División, but saw limited first team action, spending a lot of time on the sidelines with knee injury. Amuneke then spent more than half a year unattached, after leaving Albacete in the summer of 2002, before eventually joining South Korean K-League side Busan I'Cons on trial in March 2003. As Amuneke was not fully game-fit at the time, Busan decided to keep him at the club until the next transfer window. Amuneke, however, failed to recover from the recurring knee injury and left Korea in August the same year without featuring in any official games. After leaving South Korea, Amuneke came close to signing with the UAE Pro League champions Al Ain FC, who also went on to win the first edition of AFC Champions League later the same year, but the move fell through and Amuneke joined the Jordan Premier League club Al-Wehdat SC in November 2003 instead. He stayed in Jordan until retiring from football at the age of 33 in 2004. In 2008, in spent some time as an assistant coach at Saudi Premier League side Al-Hazm, but left the club to become a scout for Manchester United.

On 23 December 2008, Amuneke took over the head coaching duties at former team Julius Berger, after completing two years of coaching courses in Europe.[4] For a while, he combined this position with the role for the Red Devils, but eventually quit his post in England to concentrate on his coaching career.

Amuneke was sacked halfway through his first season after conflicts with management, despite saving the team from relegation.[5] The club however later claimed he was sacked for "over gross insubordination”. He was hired in early November 2009 as the new coach of Ocean Boys FC.[6]

International career[edit]

Amuneke played 27 times for Nigeria, scoring nine goals.[7] He was part of the team that participated at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States, a first-ever for the African country, scoring against Bulgaria (3–0 group stage win) and Italy (1–2 round of 16 loss);[8] also in that year, he helped the Super Eagles win the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, eventually being voted African Footballer of the Year.

Additionally, Amuneked played all the games at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, as the national team won the gold medal.[9] Knee problems kept him out of the 1998 World Cup.

Personal life[edit]

Amuneke's younger brothers, Kingsley and Kevin, were also footballers. Both also played several years in Portugal, amongst other countries. He has a Spanish wife and they have two sons, Matthew and Joseph.

References[edit]

External links[edit]