All Africa’s representatives to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are being coached by their local football coaches (natives).
Cameroon, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, and Ghana are the five countries representing the continent of 54 countries at the Qatar World Cup, kicking off on 20th November 2022.
Unlike in the past, when various soccer Federations relied heavily on coaches from Europe and South America to lead their teams in the world’s largest soccer event, countries in the 2022 edition have stuck to their indigenous coaches.
Many of these coaches are former national team players while others have risen through the ranks of assistant head coaches which is expected to perhaps boost the spirit of those countries’ fans.
Walid Regragui, the new head coach of Morocco’s national football team, was the most recent addition. In September, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) revealed that it had reached an agreement with Regragui to take over as the head coach of Morocco’s Atlas Lions, succeeding former Bosnian-French coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
The action was regarded as a “major step for the growth of African coaches, who now have the bravery to take over at the highest level”
Former Uganda Cranes player and now Football coach Jackson Mayanja alias Miya Miya termed the use of native coaches as building the National teams from the grassroots.
“The love native coaches have for their countries can’t be compared to foreign coaches come to get money, unlike the locals who work for love of country. These local coaches know the players from grassroots and they know how to handle them”, Mayanja said. “Now in World Cup, I believe they have a chance and we can see an African country going past the quarter-final, they only have to have a good personality that commands respect from the players.”
Uganda Radio Network brings you the five indegenous coaches’ brief profiles.
Otto Addo – Ghana
Otto Addo was born in Germany on June 9, 1975, to Ghanaian parents. Addo scout and manager, as well as a retired Ghanaian-German footballer who represented Ghana at the international level. Despite being born in Germany, Addo represented Ghana for seven years, beginning in 1999.
Addo began his coaching career in 2009 with his previous German Bundesliga club Hamburger SV, where he worked as a junior team coach and assistant manager until 2015. He was hired Ghana’s head coach shortly after the Black Stars were eliminated from the AFCON group stage.
Aliou Cisse – Senegal
Aliou Cissé was born on March 24, 1976, in Ziguinchor, a town in Senegal’s southwest area, before his family migrated to France. He is a former Senegal national team footballer who played for Senegal from 1999 to 2005, earning 35 caps.
Aliou Cisse has been the coach of Senegal’s football team since 2015, when he took over for Frenchman Alain Giress after Senegal departed the 2015 CHAN at the group stage. His selection was dubbed the Senegal fans’ choice since the team needed a native manager.
Perhaps the most successful of the five coaches. He led Senegal’s Lions of Teranga to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title earlier this year. Subsequently, the 46-year-old Cisse was awarded coach of the year at the CAF Awards, which took place in Rabat, Morocco in July this year.
Rigobert Song – Cameroon
Rigobert Song, a former professional football player, plays for Cameroon’s national team. He was named Cameroon’s head coach in February 2022, succeeding Portuguese coach António Conceiço, who had been fired after Cameroon was ousted from the AFCON.
Song, who was known for his defensive abilities during his playing career, is the most-capped player in Cameroon’s national team history, with 137 games, and he has played in four World Cups, in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2010.
Walid Regragui – Morocco
Regraqui was born in Corbeil-Essonne, France, and began his professional football career with many French clubs, including Toulouse, Ajaccio, Dijon, and Grenoble, as well as 45 national team caps for Morocco.
The 46-year-old began his coaching career as an assistant coach for Morocco’s national team in 2012. Regragui announced his departure from Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club, which he coached for one season, just weeks before being named Atlas Lions’ new head coach.
Since his return, he has been able to recall Moroccan Attacker Hakim Ziyech, who currently plays for English Premier League club Chelsea FC. Ziyech had already announced his retirement from international football after a falling out with former Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic, but new coach Walid Regragui wasted no time and called him back.
Jalel Kadri – Tunisia
Jalel Kadri was named Tunisia’s head coach in January 2022, only days after the Carthage Eagles were knocked out of the AFCON quarter-finals by Burkina Faso.
Following the disappointing performance in the AFCON, Kadri has since been successful in rebuilding the Tunisian team, guiding the Carthage Eagles to their sixth consecutive world cup qualification.