Amuneke: Spanish Football Must Embrace African Coaches

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The former Nigeria international has been keen on coaching in Spain, but no opportunity has opened for him despite his qualification and pedigree in the game

Emmanuel Amuneke has lamented the manner Spanish football treats African coaches after finding it difficult to secure a job in any of the divisions in the European nation.

Many African stars have graced La Liga, the highest level of Spanish football, including Samuel Eto’o, Thomas N’kono, Yaya Toure, Seydou Keita, and Jacques Songo’o, among many others.

Many of them have gone on to pick up coaching after hanging their boots, but none of them has been trusted to handle a top-flight side in Spain.

At present, no African coach is in charge of any of the numerous clubs across the major divisions in Spain, and it is a situation that frustrates Amuneke much.

“Look, I think we should all be treated the same, regardless of skin colour, what should prevail is value,” the former Nigeria U-17 coach told AS.

“Soccer has changed a lot compared to the eighties and nineties. Now there are more opportunities to go to other countries to demonstrate your knowledge.

“I am Nigerian, but Spain is my home, my family is from here, I have studied, and I have obtained the three levels of a coach in Cantabria … but there is fear in listening to reality: one sees the First, Second or Second teams B and realises that there is not a single African coach.”

Amuneke enjoyed a brilliant playing career, with the 1994 African Player of the Year, lifting the Afcon with the Super Eagles that year, and winning the Olympics gold medal with Nigeria’s Dream Team two years later.

The former Barcelona star has since transitioned seamlessly into coaching.

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Amuneke guided the Golden Eaglets to FIFA U-17 World Cup glory before he helped Tanzania qualify for the 2019 Afcon after a lengthy absence.

But the 49-year-old is disillusioned that despite his track record, Spain has not given him a chance to coach in the country – an opportunity which Europeans enjoy without fail across the African continent, especially in Nigeria.

“I’m not saying that Spain is racist, but it gives food for thought. Nigeria have a German coach, and he is treated like one of them.

“And someone had to give Guardiola or Luis Enrique an opportunity to prove their worth. I have proven experience, and I hope that I get an opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge. I trust that one day I can continue doing interesting things,” he concluded.

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