Amuneke leaves his post as Sudan's SC Khartoum coach by mutual consent

Emmanuel Amuneke
Emmanuel Amuneke

Former Nigeria international Emmanuel Amuneke says he has left his post as coach of Sudanese club SC Khartoum by mutual consent.

The 47-year-old former Barcelona, Sporting CP and Zamalek winger took over on a two-year deal in November, but left mainly due to the club's financial problems.

"After going two months unpaid, I had a meeting with the club director on Tuesday and he explained their financial struggles," Amuneke told BBC Sport.

"He admitted difficulties in fulfilling their financial obligations and we both agreed to end things amicably."

Amuneke was appointed for his winning mentality and with a long-term plan to break the dominance of Al Merreikh and Al Hilal, who between them have won every league title since 1970 except in 1992.

The former Nigeria Under-17 and Under-20 coach won three matches, drew two and lost three in the Sudanese top flight, but he acknowledges somewhat ruefully, that he wishes he had more time in charge.

"I came with high hopes to help the team, unfortunately we could not complete that objective due to the financial problems," he said.

"I learnt a lot during the three months I spent here, I also got to know more about Sudanese football and gained a huge insight on how it operates.

"I left the club in a good position, in the play-off zone, but I wish I had more time to finish what we started."

Amuneke 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.

That Golden Eaglet's class of 2013 include Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player, Watford's Isaac Success and Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi.

Two years later Amuneke led Nigeria to a fifth U-17 title in Chile and, revered as a proven youth manager, he was swiftly promoted to coach the U-20 side the Flying Eagles.

Despite a promising start, his time in charge ended when Sudan shocked Nigeria to book their place at the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations, eliminating the defending champions on away goals.

Playing career

As well as Egyptian side Zamalek, Amuneke played at European football heavyweights FC Barcelona and Portugal's Sporting Club.

But he forced his way into the consciousness of African football fans during the final of the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

He scored both his side's goals as 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.

Winning the Confederation of African Football African Player of the Year award in 1994 and Olympic gold were supposed to be indicative of the long international career that beckoned.

But injuries put paid to that dream, as he made his last appearance for the Super Eagles in 2000 before obtaining his coaching badges with the Spanish Football Association at his home base in Santander.