Meet the African coaches heading to Qatar World Cup
The World Cup holding in Qatar in November will throw up an interesting history as there will be four African coaches leading their nations to the Mundial.
This will be a departure from past World Cups where African teams are often tutored by foreign coaches who are seen as superior to local coaches.
But in Qatar 2022, out of the five African countries that will fly the continent’s flag at the world soccer fiesta, four of them will be coached by homegrown gaffes.
Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia will represent the continent but apart from Morocco, the other four will have local coaches in their dugouts.
Not many gave former defender, Rigobert Song, a chance to lead Cameroon to the World Cup, especially after the Indomitable Lions lost 0-1 at home to Algeria in the first leg of the final qualifiers.
But the four times African champions pulled the chestnut out of the fire in the second leg in Blida by defeating their host 2-1.
Song who was only appointed after the AFCON im February, is one of only the third African players to have played in four FIFA World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010), along with teammates Samuel Eto’o and Jacques Songo’o.
The 45 year-old led Cameroon to two Africa Cup of Nations triumph in 2000 and 2002 as captain of the squad.
Though he was born in Germany to Ghanaian parents, Otto Addo is another local coach who will lead an African team to the Mundial.
The former Bramfelder SV, Hannover 96, Dortmund and Mainz 05 defender was appointed to take over the Black Stars after their disappointing outing at the 2022 AFCON where they were bundled out by debutant Comoros.
Addo set to work, assembling a bunch of hungry players led by Arsenal midfielder, Thomas Partey, and the team displayed such resilience by pipping the Super Eagles of Nigeria over to legs to pick the World Cup ticket.
The 46-year-old has thus become the first Ghanaian footballer to qualify for the World Cup both as a player and as a coach.
Senegal coach and former midfield maestro, Aliou Cissé, no longer needs long introductions when it comes to African football.
After being in charge of the talented Senegalese team for over seven years, Cissé led the team to conquer Africa at the last AFCON in Cameroon in February, beating Egypt via penalties in the final.
The continental title was the first for the West African nation after many years of asking, including the pain of losing the 2019 final to a Ryad Mahrez inspired Algeria.
During his player days, Cissé was a midfield lynchpin for French clubs like PSG and Lille. He also played for English clubs Portsmouth and Birmingham in the premiership.
He captained Senegal to a famous 1-0 victory over France at the 1998 World Cup hosted by the European nation.
Tunisian coach, Jalel Kadri, has become the most popular man in his country after successfully leading the North African country to Qatar 2022.
The 50-year-old has a proven track record as his international managerial career has taken him to Saudi Arabia where he coached Ansar Al Madina club.
He also had a stint in Lebanon and was the head coach of Libya’s Al-Ahly Tripoli, before returning home to coach JS Kairouan in the Tunisian league, before he was appointed head coach of the Carthage Eagles.
Kadri is now tasked with leading the Eagles as far as possible at the World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA honours Osimhen after amazing season with Napoli
Following his record-breaking season with Napoli where he scored 26 goals to win the Serie A top scorer award, Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen has been honoured by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
The world football governing body Tuesday presented Osimhen with a customized jersey and soccer ball for his “superb displays for Napoli in the 2022/23 season,” which led to Napoli winning the Scudetto after a 33-year wait, according to an official of FIFA, Gelson Fernandes, in a “special message” to the 24-year-old Nigerian forward.
“Victor Osimhen, you represent at the moment what football can do,” Fernandes wrote in an Instagram post.
“From Lagos to Napoli where people love you, you have suffered, but your love for football and determination have guided you.
“Keep going, keep pushing. Africa needs examples and millions are watching and dreaming.”
Osimhen became the first African to win the highest goal scorer award, while also becoming the first player since Zlatan Ibrahimovic to win both the Capocannoniere and the Scudetto in the same season, a record which has stood for 14 long years.
His horde of honours was also enhanced with a National Award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic bestowed on him by former Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Tunisian tennis star, Ons Jabeur zooms into French Open quarter-finals
Tunisian tennis sensation, Ons Jabeur took a step further in her quest to win the 2023 French Open Grand Slam when she defeated World number 36, Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-1 to zoom into the quarter-finals.
Jabeur, ranked number 7 in the world, and who only won her first WTA 1000 title at the Madrid Open last year, has since then been facing a downward slide coupled with injuries which saw her either missing out on some tournaments or crashing out in early rounds.
However, the 28-year-old who became the first ever African woman to reach a Grand Slam final last year, was at her best when she defeated Pera to move to the next stage on Monday night.
Though Jabeur was not at her fluent best and was herself broken three times in the first set and at the start of the second set, she still raced through the final six games, sealing victory in 63 minutes.
“I never thought about something was missing or I didn’t reach all four of them,” the African said after the match.
“Maybe it’s a good thing. It came and hopefully, we’ll set it to all semi-finals and then all finals,” she added.
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