John Utaka, an ex-Nigerian international and a former player an English club side (Portsmouth) has just been confirmed the Youth Team coach at Montpellier situated in France.
The former club side (Montpellier) on Tuesday took to Facebook to congratulate the Nigerian born former football player on his new appointment: “It was with great pleasure that I learned of the appointment of John Chukwudi Utaka as a youth team coach in Montpellier Hsc of France. Allow me to congratulate you most warmly both on my behalf and on behalf of the John Utaka Football Academy family.”
It is reported that the French League 1 has confirmed the new role of Utaka at Montpellier with immediate effect but the 38 years old former Super Eagles forward will have to wait till after the ease of lockdown popularly known to be caused by Covid-19 before he could be able, to begin with Montpellier Under-19 side.
Utaka started his professional football career as a player at Enugu Rangers before moving out to join two Egyptian club sides (El Mokawloon and Ismaily) in the year 1998 and 2000 respectively in search of a new challenge. The former winger didn’t really spend much time in Egypt as he signed for a Qatari club side, Al Sadd, in the year 2001.
John Utaka’s first stint in French league 1 was at Lens (2002) and Stade Rennais (2005) before moving to Portsmouth in 2007. At Portsmouth, Utaka won the English FA Cup with fellow countryman (Kanu Nwankwo). The former Super Eagles player edged back to France for his second spell in Ligue 1 where he put pen to paper for Montpellier in the year 2011. Utaka managed 12 goals in 68 matches for Montpellier during his 2years time with them. The former football forward hanged his boots in 2018 prior to signing for Sivasspor (2013), El Mostakbal (2016), Aswan SC (2017), and CS Sedan (2017) after leaving Montpellier in 2013.
Internationally, John Utaka played 49 matches for Nigeria and was able to find the back of the net 12 times between the years 2001 and 2012. He wore the Super Eagles jersey for Nigeria at the World Cup level two times (2002 and 2010). The newly appointed U-19 coach of Montpellier was part of the Nigerian football team side that finished 3rd at the African Cup of Nations played in the year 2006.
John Utaka has been impacting and supporting grassroots football since his retirement. A piece of evidence to support this is the Utaka Football Academy.