Stop rotating same old faces

JOHANNESBURG - Having disappointed at the recently ended 2014 World Cup, one would have thought Africa as a federation would take remedial action to put things into perspective.

But a glut of recent appointments by most countries of the same old faces from Europe has underscored the mediocrity in which Africa wants to find itself in once again.

Ivory Coast, laughed as serial chokers in big tournaments this week completed the rotation of the same old faces among African federations when they appointed former Zambia coach Herve Renard as the new coach.

Having seen only two countries, Nigeria and Algeria, progress to the second round of the World Cup, one would have thought this was a wake-up call for Africa to do some soul searching, part of which is to look for people who will take football on the continent to the next level.

But the rotation of the same old faces continues unabated.

Only a handful of countries among them Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa have gone for home-made coaches in a bid to empower local coaches. Mozambique, Malawi and Namibia have also gone for home grown coaches and I think this is the way to go.

The harsh reality is most of these so-called European coaches are so mediocre they cannot find a fourth division club to coach in their respective countries but are elevated as possible national team saviours in Africa.

Take for example Congo Brazzaville mentor, Claude le Roy.

The man has almost coached in every country on the African continent yet his record is nothing to shout about.

He has been to Cameroon, Kenya, Ivory Coast just to name a few.

How does one expect an ageing coach like Le Roy to perform miracles?

Fact is Africa as a continent still suffers from the colonial mentality of thinking anything white is better than a black man and the continued employment of average European coaches is proving Africa’s biggest undoing.

Part of the solution is for federations to send their most promising coaches to some excellent coaching courses to obtain the highest coaching certificates, and then employ them back home once they are armed with competent academic credentials.

There is a feeling that some overseas players have little regard for local coaches as they earn millions of dollars with their clubs but if there are systems to control such problems, I don’t see how this can be an issue that cannot be contained.

Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has shown that if you maintain discipline, no player can be bigger than the game.

With millionaires in his ranks, Keshi has shown who is the boss in the camp and has not been afraid to wield the big stick on big-headed players.

The same applies with Ephrain ‘Shakes’ Mashaba. The man is known to call a spade a spade and exciting times await Bafana Bafana supporters.

The man brooks no nonsense and can tell his masters where to get off if they try to interfere with his work.

You need such characters on the continent which is at times known for political interference because the idea of employing the same old faces from Europe is sickening and will not take Africa anywhere. It must stop.

Comments (1)

I believe that Tinotanda Panashe is not fully informed, when it comes to judging the coaching situation in Africa. He does not seem to know that Cameroon won the African cup of Nations under Le Roy who never coached Kenya or Ivory Coast as he stated. A little research would have shown him that he left each country better soccer infrastructure. He led seven teams to the AFCON, no other coach has accomplished that. He has an understanding and respect of his players culture, and has helped many of his players to grow on many different levels.As to Renard, I would not call him quite yet an old face. I t takes resilience, knowledge, and courage to battle all the hurdles African coaches are faced with. Do your homework Mr. Panashe. Shadow these "old faces" for 8 weeks, and you may have a new appreciation for the broader work coaches like Le Roy and Renard have undertaken.

Chantal McFadden - 6 August 2014

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