Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amunike has named 15-year-old Kelvin John Pius in his preliminary 39-man squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Emmanuel Amunike has revealed the reason why he rejected a chance to become the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) technical director was because of his current involvement with a club.
The 49-year-old is believed to still be under contract with Egyptian side El Makkasa after joining the club initially as a coach before he was given the position of technical director
Amunike joined El Makkasa after leaving his role as coach of the Tanzania national team, following their abysmal performance in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where they failed to win a single game before their exit from the tournament.
The former international won a number of laurels during his playing years for the Super Eagles and guided Nigeria to win the 2015 U17 World Cup.
Amunike revealed he was approached by the NFF to take up the role of Nigeria’s technical director – which was subsequently handed to Austin Eguavoen – and explained why he rejected it.
“I was approached by the NFF for the role of a technical director but I had a contract with the people I was working with and I needed to respect the contract,” Amunike told Punch.
“I was in a difficult situation with my team as of that time and we were in a relation battle.
“Though my country comes first, I needed to respect my employers. They said they wanted me till after the season.”
Amunike also ruled out the possibility of becoming Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr’s assistant in future, explaining he would be a threat to his job.
“No! Why? I have my principles. We are ready to serve our nation. But as individuals, we have our reputation to protect,” he continued.
“If I come on board, I am a threat to Rohr. If I am here as an assistant, he will lose more concentration. He will think I am there to take his job.
“We have decided to give him the job, but let us support him. If Nigerians decide that Amunike, we need your service, I will be there. But it is not possible [to be Rohr’s assistant]. What will I be saying? He has his own philosophy, I have mine.
“Nobody has ever told me to come and be an assistant coach and if it’ll be, it is not possible, it will never be.
“I am not better than anybody. I am not arrogant. It is unfortunate that we don’t respect our stars in Africa. I deserve a little bit of respect and I didn’t reject any job.
“After U-20, I decided to get out of the Nigerian space. I took that decision myself. At the age that I am now, I have been involved in football all my life, for me I like challenges and I am not afraid. I should make decisions for myself and respect others.”
Amunike was part of Nigeria’s team that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and subsequently clinched the African Player of the Year award for his electrifying performances in the tournament.