African Enough To Play But Too African To Coach?

By Peter Alegi | March 13th, 2015 2 Comments

Foreign white coaches’ involvement in African football dates back to the earliest days of colonialism. Beginning in the 1960s, independent African states continued to hire many Europeans (especially from the Eastern bloc and West Germany) and South Americans to manage national teams and player development programs.

This funny BBC video raises serious questions about this long-standing trend, noting the disproportionately high number of overseas coaches at the 2015 African Nations Cup. In a field of sixteen teams in Equatorial Guinea, the only local coaches on the sidelines were Honour Janza (Zambia), Florent Ibengé (DR Congo) and Shakes Mashaba (South Africa).


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March 23rd, 2015 | 6:53 am    

What about the power struggles within the National Federations? A foreign coach to the National team is less likely interfere in the internal politics of a federation. These are the kind of speculations people make when discussing why would Indian International cricket team needs a foreign coach, given the international success of Indian cricketers and coaches over the years?


March 25th, 2015 | 8:24 am    

Thanks for your comment, Tarminder. Selection of a national team coach is always political, regardless of country or region. In the African context, an outsider does seem to offer the perception of being “above” the often byzantine politics of national FAs. Whether this is actually the case is a different story, however, especially since contracts are regularly offered to the same individuals (LeRoy, Renard, etc.) or to inexperienced coaches seeking to build their professional CVs.

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