Time is now to hire african coaches for the Senior national team

November 5, 2013 8:42 pm0 comments by:

The introduction of media into sports brings its advantages and set backs. For instance, you can easily obtain analysis report about a professional coach across any continent. Therefore, it is surprising that critics, analysts and fans choose to ignore the recent success stories about African football Coaches. The football Associations continue to hire other continental managers as better candidates. This was true in the past but it is time to give African coaches the role.

In 10 to 14 days, five nations will be assured qualification for 2014 World Cup. Currently, 2 nations Ghana, Nigeria managed by African Coaches will be among the 5. This is based on first leg results and recent statistics. The 2013 Under 17 World Cup currently being held in UAE, Nigeria has advanced to final. Ivory Coast lost narrowly to Brazil in Quarter final. The two teams managed by African Coaches show a high level of ability and success rate.

However, national football associations still prefer to hire mainly European Coaches for their senior national team. In my view, it is time to ask the decision makers why they continue to favour European or other continent coaches. In the past, there were many legitimate reasons for taking that direction. This should not be the case in 2013 or future years to come. There are lot of tools available for African coach to compensate for lack of skill or experience.

The analysis report about current senior African national teams is not encouraging for future aspiring African managers. A quick glance on the list shows a lot of the managers are from Europe. French speaking managers dominate the nationalities with a few from other nationalities. Currently, less than 50% of the managers are in charge of their country of origin. The fact that France has more than 40 % suggests that communication is an important attribute. Thus, a manager from that country surely should have the skill to communicate with the players.

It is suggested that there is a lack of technical ability and experience, which hinders success. There is a merit in pointing out experience between both sets of coaches. There is no guarantee that success is achieved most by experienced coaches. It helps to have a working experience in a varied working environment but success is dependent on different components. In addition, an individual is not going to suddenly acquire experience. You have to be given the opportunity and time to know about the individual players and the job. There are a lot of scenarios where an African coach achieved success because he/she has time and opportunity. Egypt and recently Nigeria have proved that an African coach can successfully achieve success.

Finance is major issue with all sports in Africa. It would not be an exaggeration to say all football Associations place manager’s wages on top of the reasons for hiring a manager. It makes financial sense to hire an African Coach compared to European or South American. Firstly, there is no issue of what currency to pay their salaries and also travel or relocation cost. Secondly, an African coach is more willing to forfeit or delay a month or two wages. This will help in the football association’s cash flow crises or unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear stories about Associations having to resolve players’ wages dispute. This is after spending a lot of money chasing a European manager.

There is another important issue an independent view that is commonly prevalent among all African nations. Any player that does not think a manager has their favourites will be naïve. Club managers are given funds or budget to buy and sell players. The outcome is that a team gradually comprises of players favoured by the manager. In a national team set up, there is no transfer budget involved rather call ups. However, the outcome is similar in terms of players picked for the national team.

The manager travels to matches and picks players for the national team. They are not going to call a player that they do not think has the technically or soft skills to do the job. The fact that a manager is European or South American would not make him more independent. He is always going to seek assistance on who to call up. The assistance tends to be from a person resident in that country.

Finally, the issue about image and success rate with previous nations or clubs. In the past, the success of African coaches had been evident in the junior level competitions and professional club level. In recent years and weeks, it is a difficult to overlook the success in senior level and failure of nations employing European managers. In 2006 and 2010 world cups, only one of the nations, Angola in 2006 and Algeria in 2010 had an African coach. The success rate was not good as only Ghana qualified from the Group stages. We have to give African managers opportunity to take a nation to a world cup. It is only by experience that they will learn and being successful.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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