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John Utaka: Montpellier appoint ex-Nigeria winger as youth coach

Montpellier have appointed their former player and ex-Nigeria international John Utaka as coach of their U19 team.

The 38-year-old returns to Stade de la Mosson with the ambition of earning his coaching badge in the Ligue 1 club's youth set-up.

Utaka spent two-and-a-half years at Montpellier between 2011 and 2013, and he helped La Paillade win their first-ever top-flight title in the 2011-12 season.

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His brace in the club’s 2-1 win over Auxerre secured Montpellier's triumph on May 12, 2012.

Ahead of his new sojourn, the Nigeria national team sent a congratulatory message to him.

“And the journey in coaching begins for John Utaka, the attacker with the Montpellier youth coach post. All the best poacher,” the Super Eagles official account wrote.

Utaka is the latest Nigeria legend to take up a coaching role after ex-captain Joseph Yobo was appointed as an assistant coach to Gernot Rohr in the national team.

Yobo also joined in felicitating with his former international teammates who scored six goals in 49 appearances for the Super Eagles.

"Congratulations John Utaka on your appointment as the youth football team coach at French League 1 side Montpellier. I wish you every success bro,” the ex-Everton defender wrote on Instagram.

The former Super Eagles attacker had a nomadic playing career across Nigeria, Egypt, Qatar, France, England and Turkey before retiring from football in 2018.

Utaka was the top scorer in the 1999-00 Egyptian Premier League season with 17 goals to his name.

During his 11-year career with the Super Eagles, he featured in the 2002 and 2010 Fifa World Cup tournaments, and he was also part of the team that won bronze at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.