A former Super Eagles star, Emmanuel Amunike, says he cannot be an assistant coach under the Nigerian team head coach, Gernot Rohr.
He said this while speaking on PUNCH Online interview programme, Kick&Follow, where football stars discuss topical issues in Nigerian football.
Amuneke, however, said he was yet to be approached by anyone to become Rohr’s assistant.
The 1994 African Player of the Year clarified that he had a different philosophy from Rohr.
When asked if he would consider being Rohr’s assistant, Amuneke said, “No! Why? I have my principles. We are ready to serve our nation. But as individuals, we have our reputation to protect.
“If I come on board, I am a threat to Rohr. If I 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 Amuneke, 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. What we can’t do is to create stories that are not real.
“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 never rejected any offer. Nobody has ever approached me or ask me to come and assist the coach,” he said.
Amuneke, who won Olympic Gold in 1996 as a player and led Nigeria to the 2015 Under-17 World Cup in Chile, also considered being Rohr’s assistant as a disrespect.
The 49-year-old said, “I am not better than anybody. It is not arrogancy. It is unfortunate that we don’t respect our stars in Africa. It might be true or not, but in life, we should be guided by the things that we say. 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.”
Amuneke led the Golden Eaglets to a fifth U-17 World Cup title in Chile and was swiftly promoted to coach Nigeria’s under-20 side, the Flying Eagles.
As a player, he scored two goals at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia where Nigeria beat Zambia 2-1 to win their second African title.
He also scored memorable goals against Bulgaria and Italy for the Super Eagles at the 1994 World Cup.
Nigeria stunned Argentina 3-2 in the 1996 Olympic football final in Atlanta to become the first African football nation to win Olympic gold.
Amuneke helped the Taifa Stars of Tanzania qualify for AFCON for the first time in 39 years but left by mutual consent following the team’s failure to progress to the knock-out stages of Egypt 2019. Punch
Pix: Amunike in coaching session