AMUNEKE AIMS AT BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN EGYPTIAN CLUB, MAQASSA

Maqassa of Egypt’s new Nigerian coach, Emmanuel Amunike says he has big ambitions to achieve with the Egyptian Premier League club, insisting that his players only need some confidence to return back to winning ways.

According to Egyptian publication, Ahram, Amuneke said:

“I agreed a one-and-a-half-year contract with Maqassa to build a strong team with young players in the coming period,” Amuneke said in an interview with Al-Ahram Al-Riyadi magazine published on Wednesday.

Earlier in February, struggling side Maqassa named Zamalek’s great and former African player of the year Amunike as their new coach, replacing ex-Egypt striker Mido who was shown the door after a string of poor results saw the team drop to fourth from bottom in the league table.

“The team includes good players who only lack confidence in their abilities. I told them they need to be determined to win again to restore their confidence in themselves,” Amuneke said.

In the first match under the 49-year-old’s guidance, Maqassa played out a 1-1 draw with El-Entag El-Harby on Saturday.

Maqassa currently lie third from bottom with 14 points from 17 matches, one behind the safety zone, but Amuneke is optimistic about his team chances of staying in the top flight.

“The team is in a very difficult situation, but our players can pass it. I know the teams’ circumstances well and my mission is to find solutions to quickly restore the balance,” he added.

“I told the players that changing their positions on the field in every game has been the main reason for the poor results.”

Happy with Egypt return

Returning to the country where he made his name as a deadly forward in the early 1990s, Amuneke expressed his great delight, welcoming the idea of taking charge of Cairo giants Zamalek one day.

He joined Zamalek from Nigeria’s Julius Berger in 1991 and went on to win two domestic league titles and one African Champions League crown in a glorious three-year spell with the club.

Amuneke also played for Portugal’s Sporting, Spanish giants Barcelona and Albacete before ending his career at Jordanian club Al-Wehdat in 2004.

“Egypt is my second country, where I had beautiful memories for three years and I am happy with the warm welcome everywhere,” he said.

“Working at Zamalek is a hope for any coach as it isa  big club, but I am happy at Maqassa and I am working hard to achieve my ambitions there.

“Returning back to winning ways and also to become among the top four is my priority and then I can think of any other steps.”

On the international level, Amuneke was part of Nigeria’s golden generation that won the Nations Cup in 1994 and reached the last 16 of the World Cup several months later. He was named Africa’s best player in the same year before leading the U-23 side to the Olympic gold medal in 1996.

Amuneke had mixed fortunes in his brief managerial tenure, however. He guided Nigeria’s U-17 side to World Cup glory in 2015 but had unsuccessful spells with Julius Berger and Ocean Boys in his home country as well as Sudan’s Al Khartoum SC.

He then took charge of the Tanzanian national team but they bowed out of last year’s Nations Cup at the group stage after losing all their three game