Despite not having too many chances, Emmanuel Amunike was a very remembered Barca figure at the end of the century. The Nigerian went over his career in an interview with ‘AS’ and recalled his spell at Barca.
Emmanuel Amunike was part of the Nigeria squad that won the Olympic gold at Atlanta in 1996. An achievement that, after his good performance at Zamalek and Sporting Lisbon, made him move to Barcelona.
The ex-player played for the Catalan side between 1996 and 2000, but injuries prevented him from showing all his potential, although the Nigerian himself noted that there were other factors that were an obstacle at a club like Barcelona.
“I was very unlucky with the injury and, furthermore, I had a bad operation in Barcelona, with an experiment that didn’t work out. That added to the fact that people found it hard to digest the fact that there was an African in the team.
That did not affect me because I did not fall from the sky, I already had a proven career as a football player, but to many people this did not matter to them”, he assured to ‘AS’.
In it, Amunike went over his career, although he made special emphasis to his years at the Camp Nou. “After a friendly in 1994 Duisburg wanted to sign me, which reached an agreement with Zamalek. It was all done, but an offer came from Sporting de Portugal and it was the best for my career. I was stopped for three months until FIFA mediated the conflict between the two clubs”, he started before recalling his spell in Barcelona again.
“I didn’t play many matches at Barca, but I was happy. I won many titles and coincided with great players and people like Rivaldo, Figo, Xavi, Luis Enrique… Lucho’ has a great charisma and knows how to transmit that now to his players”, he explained about the Spain manager.
Lastly, asked about the potential of African football, Amunike gave his opinion about what it’s missing to reach the next level. “We have our own style. It’s a kind of physical game and you don’t have to lose it, but you do have to improve it. We must strengthen the technical and tactical aspects and, to do this, the African federations must help to better organise football from grassroots up”, he ended.