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Meet the African coaches heading to Qatar World Cup

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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.

Cameroon

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.

Ghana

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

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.

Tunisia

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.

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Five African players who played for Bayern Munich; before Sadio Mane

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The next football season will see Senegal international captain, Sadio Mane, filing out for perennial German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, after completing a £35 million move from Liverpool.

Mane signed a three-year deal with Bayern that will see him remain at the Bundesliga champions until 2025, after six successful years at Liverpool which he joined from Southampton.

According to world football transfer expert, Fabrizio Romano, the deal will see Bayern pay €32m (£34m) guaranteed fee for Sadio Mané with the contract already signed and valid until June 2025.”

“Liverpool will also receive add-ons, for a maximum of potential €40m total fee package,” Romano wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Mane’s move to Bayern may be the biggest transfer involving an African player in this transfer market but he is certainly not the first ‘authentic’ African star to play for the Munich giants as there have been Africans who wore the Bayern shirt in the past and won trophies for the Bavarians who are unarguably the biggest and most successful club in Germany.

The Bavarians have been a dominant force in the German football landscape, winning leagues and cups consistently over the years and intermittently, and there have been some talented African players who contributed in some ways to the success of the team.

Africa News Watch takes a look at five African footballers who have played and won titles for Bayern Munich.

1. Samuel Kuffour

Former Ghanaian international defender, Samuel Ossei Kuffour stands out as the most successful African star to have played for the Munich giants.

In his time with the Bavarians, Kuffour was a very accomplished defender and played for over 11 years between 1994-2005, featuring 277 times with 10 goals to his name across all competitions.

Fondly called Sammy by fans, the Ghanaian export will never be forgotten for his tears and display of disappointment and agony when Munich famously lost the 1999 UEFA Champions League final in the dying minutes against Manchester United.

His sorrow, however, would turn to joy a couple of years later when he led the Bayern defense to win the 2001 UEFA Champions League trophy and ended his illustrious career with six Bundesliga titles and four DFB-Pokal trophies to his name.

2. Pablo Thiam

Many football fans did not know that Pablo Thiam, a mercurial defensive midfielder who played for two seasons between 2001 and 2003, was actually an African who played for Guinea.

Though Thiam did not have a really spectacular time at Munich inky managing 16 league appearances, he was part of the victorious Bayern squad that won the 2001 UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

3. Mehdi Benatia

Mehdi Benetia was a highly gifted Moroccan centre-back who was a stalwart in the Bayern defense during his time at the club from 2014 to 2016.

Benatia was a key player during his time at the club and made a total of 46 appearances, scoring three goals from his defensive position during his two-year spell with Munich, winning two Bundesliga titles and a DFB-Pokal cup.

4. Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting

Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting, is a Cameroonian international striker currently on the books of the Bundesliga defending champions.

Eric joined the Bavarians in the summer of 2020 and has so far featured 45 times across all competitions, scoring 17 goals in this period.

He has so far won a Bundesliga title (2020-21) and FIFA Club World Cup trophy (2020) and the 2022 Bundesliga title.

5. Bouna Sarr

Another African player who has played for the Alianz Arena outfit is Senegalese international, Bouna Sarr, who joined Bayern Munich in 2020 on a four-deal from French side, Olympique Marseille.

However, the 30-year-old Sarr has had to play a bit-part role with the Bavarian side.

The right-back has so far made 25 total appearances across the two seasons he has spent at the club with a goal to his name and was part of the squad that won the 2020-21 Bundesliga title and 2020 FIFA Club World Cup.

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Ghana’s Benjamin Azamati, dubbed ‘new Usain Bolt’ wins Gold in Diamond League

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African athletes proved their worth in the Diamon Lafe races over the weekend as Benjamin Azamati finished in pole position in only his second Diamond League Meet in the 100-metre race.

Like Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan who broke the African record in the 100m women’s hurdle after clocking 12.41 seconds during the Paris Diamond League race on Saturday.

Azamati in his only his second-ever appearance at the Diamond League Meet after finishing in the fourth position in Oslo also put Africa on the podium as he clocked clocked a time of 10.25s in the 100 metres race to finish ahead of French duo Fall Mouhamadou and Vicaut Jimmy.

Another, Africa star, compatriot Sean Safo-Antwi placed 6th with a time of 10.45 seconds.

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