Emmanuel Amunike sets to downgrade to coaching in NNL

Emmanuel Amunike

Former Nigeria and Barcelona winger, Emmanuel  Amunike is set to return to coaching after a year away from the sidelines.

According to sources, Amunike is close to securing a coaching job with Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Heartland FC.

Amunike’s last role was with Zambia’s Zanaco FC, where he served as both coach and consultant before leaving in 2023.

He also applied for the Super Eagles head coach position but was overlooked by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in favor of Finidi George. Finidi resigned after Nigeria’s poor performances against South Africa and Benin in June, leaving the position vacant.

Reports suggest that Amunike has already been given the job at Heartland and is set to be officially announced soon. He has started recruiting players for the upcoming season.

Heartland FC were relegated to the NNL after finishing in the 19th position on the 20-team table last season.

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Amunike has extensive coaching experience in domestic and international football. He previously coached Julius Berger and Ocean Boys in Nigeria before leading the Nigeria U17 team to World Cup victory in 2015.

He also managed Tanzania’s national team, leading them to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and had roles with Egypt’s Misr El Makkasa and as assistant coach of Nigeria’s national team.

The 53-year-old’s return to coaching is a welcome development for Nigerian football, given his wealth of experience and success in the sport. His appointment at Heartland is expected to boost the team’s chances of promotion back to the top flight.

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