Wednesday 06 April 2022, 11:00

Homegrown coaches doing Africa’s finest proud

  • Four of Africa’s five qualifiers for Qatar 2022 have homegrown coaches

  • The men in charge of Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal are all former internationals

  • Tunisia’s head coach has over 20 years of experience in the dugout

National identity is important to the countries that will be representing Africa at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. After entrusting their teams to foreign coaches for many years, four of the five representing the continent at the global finals will do so boasting homegrown tacticians.

Cameroon are in the hands of Rigobert Song, who represented them with such distinction on the pitch and was a two-time CAF African Cup of Nations winner in 2000 and 2002. The former defender, who also forged a successful club career in Europe, will now try to make history with the Indomitable Lions in Qatar, where they have been drawn in Group G with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. Speaking after his side had edged Algeria on away goals to qualify, he hailed their never-say-die spirit. “I’d like to congratulate both teams on the match they played, and my players, who showed how indomitable they are,” said Song. “In the first match, we struggled against a defensive side that prevented our players from expressing themselves in attack. We managed to respond to that today by playing with two men up front.”

Ghana also went back to the past in their successful bid to reach Qatar 2022, handing the reins of the national team to Otto Addo, who played in Germany before moving into coaching. The Black Stars have a daunting challenge ahead of them in Group H, one of the toughest sections in the first round, with Portugal, Uruguay and Korea Republic providing the opposition. The ex-player Senegal turned to was Aliou Cisse, who ran out for French clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Lille. An AFCON runner-up with the Lions of Teranga in 2002, he guided them to the continental title for the first time earlier this year. Cisse’s Senegal will come up against tournament hosts Qatar, Netherlands and Ecuador in Group A.

While Tunisia’s Jalel Kadri lacks the playing CV of his Cameroonian, Ghanaian and Senegalese opposite numbers, he more than makes up for it with his coaching experience. Having embarked on his career in the dugout in 2001, he is now preparing for his biggest challenge yet. Tunisia have been drawn in Group D, where they will take on France, Denmark and one of either Australia, Peru or United Arab Emirates.