NFF to retain Amuneke as Golden Eaglets head coach

Published on: 07 November 2015
NFF to retain Amuneke as Golden Eaglets head coach
Golden Eaglets coach Emmanuel Amuneke

Coach Emmanuel Amuneke will retain his post as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) adopt a new strategy to consolidate on the gains at this level of the game.

Previous coaches at U17 have often been automatically promoted to the country’s U20 team, but with disappointing results.

John Obuh was elevated to the U20 national team after he guided the country to the final of the 2009 U17 World Cup, which incidentally Nigeria hosted. He subsequently reached the last eight of the U20 World Cup in 2011, before he crashed out in the Round of 16 two years later.

Manu Garba won the U17 World Cup in style in 2013, but he could only lead the Flying Eagles to the Round of 16 at this year’s U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

The U20 records of Obuh and Manu are insignificant for a country who were beaten finalists twice, in 1989 and 2005, and placed third in 1985 at the U20 World Cup.

“It is expected that the (NFF) president (Amaju Pinnick) will announce Amuneke will stay on as U17 coach so as to build on the experience and gains of his first stint as head coach. The arrangement of automatically promoting a coach from U17 to U20 has not worked because we are talking of two different levels of the game,” a top official disclosed.

“Take the example of Mexico. The coach who led them to the final two years ago in Abu Dhabi is the same man who guided them to the semi-finals in Chile. There are many such examples.”

Amuneke has endured a less than cordial relationship with his employers, but Pinnick himself has come out to reveal he resisted pressures to sack him after the Eaglets finished a disappointing fourth at the CAF U17 Championship in Niger earlier this year.

The NFF boss has equally commended the former Barcelona winger for staying focused and thereby getting the job done.

“He has clearly rubbished all insinuations and dark innuendoes against him and has continued to do a marvelous job quietly. He has earned his respect,” Pinnick said glowingly of Amuneke.