Just Where Is This Going?


When is this going to end? Just when? And where is it going anyway? Africa has been in need of putting it’s name on the football map for a long time. The continent doubted its potential and ability. The hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup went a long in showing the world and indeed the Africans, what they can do.

The continent has produced some of the greatest craftsmen of the trade in George Weah, Abedi Pele, Jay Jay Okocha, Roger Milla, Samuel Eto’o, Lucas Radebe and Didier Drogba. There is a host of others as you may know. Most of these are developed and mature in Africa and go on to blossom overseas.

Zimbabwe has just handed a Belgian Tom Saintfiet a coaching contract. Details of his salaries may never be known as the national association are perennial begging bowl carriers. They are always cash-strapped, especially when they hire a local coach.

Cameroon signed a two-year contract with former Spain coach Javier Clemente to take over as its new national coach just recently. As part of the African disease of handing the local brand of football to foreigners, they think he will take them where no other coach has. Usually, they would rely on French coaches and their results are never better. I can tell you their purse gets worse with such contracts. 

For now, Ivory Coast have named Francois Zahoui, a local coach, as Sven-Goran Eriksson‘s successor as coach two weeks before they begin their African Nations Cup qualifying campaign. You will remember how dismal the Elephants were in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The question however is, will he be getting $3 million in 4 months as Sven did?

Dario Bonetti is the expat Zambian coach who is expected to take their game to dizzy heights. I believe that these guys bring invaluable experience to the African game. They have been here for a long time and Africa is yet to reach a FIFA World Cup final. Hiring an Italian would have been wise when the Azzuri were still World Cup champions. With theie last tournament’s performance still fresh in the minds of all of us, they are the last people you want to associate with in football terms. I expected Zambian football boss, Kalushya Bwalya, to trust his own.

The Zimbabwe Warriors coach, Saintfiet’s successor in Namibia is Cambodian. Tae Hoon expressed that the players are now only 60 percent fit. I guess this is a pre-season excuse he has to his new emploetrs. It may be that he is trying to tell the Zimbabweans how bad Tom is. I really can’t tell.

Kinnah Phiri is the Malawian coach. He is local but will always have his job ‘just’. It is no rocket science that he is not earning much and he knows that as soon as the right expat comes cheap enough, he has CVs to post. His fears are shared by so many African coaches. Under the conditions, no matter how good you are, you never perform well with a dagga  on your throat as placed by the national association.

Angola have a French coach called Hervé Renard. They had a local guy who coached them to previous successes but we, Africans, prefer the failure of expats than glory of locals. That is how African administrators are wired. They consider all success of their people as a fluke and will prefer the witch doctors than the local coaches and will never pay players well unless expat coaches threaten them as Reinhard Fabisch did.

A former Kenyan coach deputized a German man Antoine Hey. Harambee assistant coach, Kenyan Twahir Muhiddin, was given a mandate by the Kenyan Football Association by default. Antoine Hey boycotted the team following a disagreement over the recalling of Edgar Ochieng with Kenyan bosses.

One of Africa’s poorest nations, Ethiopia, hired British Efem Onura, 43, recently, they will fill his pockets with a cool monthly salary of $13,000, together with free telephone, housing and automobile for his stay in Ethiopia and free air tickets twice a year to travel to his country. Nobody can guarantee football results. They can only pledge to do their best as we all do. I hope Ethiopia will be a force to reckon with as they were when local coaches there were in charge.

The other African nation more famous for ‘blood diamonds’ and beautiful models have the government and Football Association signing a four-year deal with Hungarian coach Brtalan Bicskei. George Weah’s Liberia committed to pay the Hungarian coach S$15,000,00 month after month.

Swazi’s Shakes Mashaba is South African. Shakes is one of the South Africa’s finest. He has done a fine job with Mzantsi’s inland neighbours, but he was a ‘stone the builders refused’.

The coach of Ghana’s Black Stars is Milovan Rajevac, who is Serbian. My understanding is that he was being paid $40 000,00 from his previous contract before the FIFA World Cup. He had been negotiating for a 50% raise after they became the team of the tournament for Africa in the World Cup. The fact that he is still there may mean he got it.

Expats really bring a lot of confidence and technical know-how. They always have and will surely continue to do so. My problem is that the African coahces do not seem to be learning. Administrators would be giving them these jobs if they did. They will have to keep learning until the end of time.

My question is, how do you see if an African or local coach is able when they are never given a chance to prove themselves?  Most African nation’s successes were achieved by local coaches, notably South Africa’s 1996 Africa Nation’s Cup victory as well as Zimbabwean appearances to the same tournaments in 2004 and 2006. 

A disgrace indeed.

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2 comments on “Just Where Is This Going?

  1. Its been said more than once that we Africans are our own enemies. I think your article is a proof of that. Bob Marley said, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our own mind”. One would be suprised that things like this are happening long after the our countries have gained independence! Asazi.

    • If these guys took us to levels never reached before, I would not mind. They find us where we are and leave us where we are in football terms. Of course they loot us and we are happier when looted.

      Bob Marley also said, “There is a horse race, there is a dog race, there is a human race, but what a disgrace, because this is a RAT RACE!”

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