Former Nigeria international Emmanuel Amuneke says he faces a “big task” after taking over at struggling Egyptian Premier League side El-Makkasa on a deal until the end of the season. The 49-year-old was confirmed as Ahmed Hossam Mido’s successor on Saturday to become El-Makkasa’s fourth manager in three years. The Faiyum-based outfit have struggled for form, sitting 15th in the table, just outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
“We have a big job on our hands and we cannot pretend that isn’t true,” Amuneke said. “But no matter the task, we must give it everything we have.” “I’ve been given this opportunity because of the situation but if we all drive in the same direction I believe things will gradually improve.” It is a return to the North African nation where the former Barcelona and Sporting CP winger first achieved professional success outside of his native country. He joined giants Zamalek from Julius Berger of Lagos in 1991 and his three-year spell saw him claim two domestic league titles and the 1993 African Champions League trophy. Amuneke, who led Tanzania to their first Africa Cup of Nations since 1980, left the Taifa Stars by mutual consent following the team’s failure to progress to the knock-out stages of Egypt 2019 and has been seeking a new job. The 1994 African Footballer of the Year previously managed his country’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.