It is increasingly becoming more difficult not to have respect for former Super Eagles winger Emmanuel Amuneke who has come out to frustratingly emphasise that he is not currently interested in coaching the national team, more so as the post is not even vacant.
At a time when bribery allegations and other absurd stories are competing with coronavirus to make sporting headlines, this smooth operator called Amuneke continues to maintain a sense of focus with an angle that is not far fetched.
From Benedict Akwuegbu coming to regret playing for Nigeria (after a rather forgettable national team career) to Bonfrere Jo claiming that his fellow countryman sold the 1994 world cup second round encounter against Italy. Taye Taiwo coming out to say he retired under Keshi’s currupt era after the coach clearly snubbed him came soon after Chinedu Obasi claimed he was asked for a quid pro quo to play under the same gaffer (having been ravaged by injuries for spells during that period).
Online media outlets are flooded with these stories but Amuneke’s focus remains with his club assignment in Egypt and not bribery allegations, but will his time come?
I still remember very vividly when the 49 year old was in charge of the successful Golden Eaglets team of 2015. A particular popular Nigerian online media outlet constantly (I mean constantly) ran stories about how Amuneke solicited bribes for youngsters to be included in that tournament winning squad.
The 1994 Super Eagle was accused of all sorts as coach of the 2015 Golden Eaglets so much so that it was a miracle that he wasn’t sacked.
Nepotism, tribalism, favouritism, bribery and corruption, you name it. Yet, these all seem to prove unfounded particularly as he brought the world cup back home with his hugely talented lads.
Perhaps in 10 years time, the Kelechi Nwakalis, Victor Osimhens or Funsho Bamgboyes of this world or any of their colleagues that were dropped from the 2015 under 17 squad (like Chinedu Obasi just did) will come out and tell us something different.
For now, Amuneke is concerned solely with his coaching career which continues to build from strength to strength since his days as Golden Eaglets coach.
I am really proud of this man and do hope that he continues to garner the much needed exposure and experience so that when indeed the time does come, he will be fully ready to serve the Super Eagles with distinction, much like his Under 17 coaching days – only this time, without the filthy allegations of bribery that circulated in certain quarters at the time.
And if indeed he does not have any skeletons in his cupboard, then no events from his past would come back to haunt him!