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History made as five home-grown coaches lead Africa to World Cup

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For the first time in the history of Africa’s participation in the World Cup, the continent’s five representatives to the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be managed by home-grown coaches.

Before now, African teams going into any World Cup tournaments relied on foreign coaches who ended up not achieving much with the teams.

But this year’s World Cup which kicks off on Sunday, November 20, will see Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, and Cameroon all parading coaches from their countries which is a great development for the game on the continent.

Ahead of the official kick off of the tournament, africannewswatch takes a look at the five men who will be calling the shots from the dugout.

Otto Addo – Ghana

The Black Stars coach is a former Ghana international midfielder who was a member of Ghana’s team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Ghanaian coach, Otto Addo (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Ghanaian coach, Otto Addo (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Born in Germany, 47-year-old Addo was a surprised pick to take over as coach of the national team following their uninspiring performances at the 2021 African Nations Cup where they were knocked out in the group stages, especially a loss to lowly rates Comoros.

The former Borussia Dortmund youth coach inherited a demoralised and a dispirited squad but got down to work immediately.

His efforts paid off as he led the Black Stars to pip the Super Eagles of Nigeria to the World Cup ticket on away goals rule.

He has quietly turned the squad around and has been pivotal in convincing some Ghanaian-born players like Tariq Lamptey and Inaki Williams to switch allegiance and play for the West African country.

Jalel Kadri – Tunisia

Tunisia’s head coach Jalel Kadri’s was given a lesson of what to expect when they faced record five-time world champions Brazil in a warm up match where they were pummeled 5-1.

But the 50-year-old Kadri seemed to take it in his stride and said it was a good preparation for the team as they set to take on France, Denmark and Australia in their group.

Kadri has been in charge of Carthage Eagles since March after being promoted from an assistant role when Mondher Kebaier was sacked following an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals loss to Burkina Faso.

He has been a coach for more than 20 years, coaching clubs in Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and though this is his first national team job, Kadri believes he has what it takes to guide the Tunisian team to great things at the Mundial.

Aliou Cisse – Senegal

Senegal’s head coach Aliou Cisse, is an ex-international who was in the Teranga Lion’s team that reached the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals in South Korea in its very first tournament.

He was also part of the coaching crew at the Russia 2018 World Cup where Senegal was knocked out in an agonising fashion, losing out on a second-round place only because they accumulated more yellow cards than Japan.

Aliou Cisse is going to the World Cup as African champions (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Aliou Cisse is going to the World Cup as African champions (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

After losing as a player in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations final, the 46-year-old Cisse made amends by guiding his country to victory at the 2021 Afcon in Cameroon with a penalty shootout victory over Egypt.

Walid Regragui – Morocco

Moroccan manager, Walid Regragui, has had little time to prepare the Atlas Lions having replaced Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic only in August.

But the French-born former right-back who switched allegiance to Morocco after playing for France at the junior levels, was capped 45 times by the Atlas Lions.

Regragui began his coaching career in 2012 and coached clubs like Wydad Casablanca whom he led to victory over Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final early this year.

He has also coached in Qatar and has been part of the Moroccan national team as an assistant coach before taking over after Halilhodzic was fired.

Rigobert Song – Cameroon

Cameroon’s coach Rigobert Song, 46, can be described as one of Cameroon’s football legend Cameroon’s played at four World Cups and helped the Indomitable Lions win the Africa Cup of Nations twice in eight tournament appearances.

A rugged centre-back during his playing days, Song had stints with clubs in France, Italy, England, Germany and Turkey.

Though considered a rookie coach, Song was named Cameroon’s coach by his former team mate, Samuel Etoo who is the president of the Cameroonian FA following the sack of Portuguese Toni Conceicao after a third-place finish as 2021 Cup of Nations hosts.

Cameroonian coach Rigobert Song is under pressure to perform (Photo Credit: CFA)

Cameroonian coach Rigobert Song is under pressure to perform (Photo Credit: CFA)

Song masterminded a shock World Cup play-off win by triumphing over Algeria but friendly losses to Uzbekistan and fellow qualifiers South Korea have not lifted hopes of the soccer loving fans back home.

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Basketball league set to boost women basketball in Africa— President

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The President of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), Amadou Gallo Fall, has disclosed that the organisation is working with world basketball governing body, FIBA, to boost and nurture female talents and grow the women sport on the continent.

According to Fall, BAL which started as a men’s tournament four years ago, has launched an initiative which will incorporate the females so as to grow the game.

Fall who spoke to sports journalists in Kigali, Rwanda, where the competition is currently going on, said the key challenge for the body is to expand the female talent pool across the continent and
hopes to lay a strong foundation across the continent through its BAL4HER project, which aims to advance gender equity and celebrate women in the sports industry.

He stated that BAL will run a five-day camp for 20 top Under-23 women’s players from 14 African countries alongside the play-offs in Rwanda with the aim to empower and develop young female athletes on and off the court.

“There is a women’s club championship that FIBA is running and we built the BAL on the foundation of club basketball that FIBA used to run,” he said.

“We contribute towards investment in growing the women’s game. The foundation is laid. We need to continue to support women’s participation in the sport and the development at grassroots level working with FIBA.

“I know the women’s game is very popular in certain countries – Senegal, Mozambique, Egypt, Mali and Nigeria.

“We want to grow the women’s game to make sure there are more countries playing the sport.”

The BAL President added that this far, work is already being done by his organisation to boost the women’s game.

“This is a way to continue to build capacity, make the industry accessible for women and especially help them grow on their journey to becoming the best basketball players they can be.

“They will be mentored by elite coaches and this will be an opportunity to talk to them about opportunities and careers in sport.

“They have a chance to learn more about the industry and the work the BAL is doing, and we want to continue to provide those mentorships. That will all contribute in building this world-class league we are endeavouring to build.”

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Kenya’s Paris Olympics shaky as athletes threaten trials boycott over stadium dilemma

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The chances of Kenyan athletes competing in the forthcoming Paris Olympics are under threat as top athletes in the country have vowed to snub the Olympics trials if the event is not held at a venue certified by World Athletics following the closure of the Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums which have the needed facilities.

Athletics Kenya (AK) is currently faced with a challenge of where to host the Olympics trials slated from June 14-15, since Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums, the only two World Athletics-accredited venues in the country, are currently closed for renovation.

Though AK President Jack Tuwei has promised the athletes that efforts are being put in place to have the trials conducted at a certified venue, the actors themselves have vowed not to attend the trials if the venue is not up to world standard.

In an interview with sports journalists, Tuwei said he is optimistic the July Olympic trials will be held in Nairobi.

An athlete who did not want his name mentioned expressed his concerns and those of his colleagues in the same situation.

“Even though I have attained the Paris Olympics standards, I will not attend in solidarity with those who would like to strive and get the standard at the trials,” he said.

“These are sentiments shared by all the athletes because they have missed a great opportunity to qualify for Paris Olympics with the National Athletics Championships being held at Ulinzi Complex,” the top athlete noted.

The bone of contention, according to concerned athletes, is that Athletics Kenya was planning to host the trials at the Ulinzi Complex whose track is not certified by World Athletics.

“That means any times recorded at the event would not count as Olympic qualifying standards, denying athletes who have not already attained the required marks, an opportunity to qualify for the Paris Games,” a local sport media reports.

“It would therefore force then to seek qualification elsewhere when the deadline for Olympic qualification is June 30.”

Sprinters, such as Mark Otieno, will be among the most hit given that only Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala (100m), Zablon Ekwam (400m) and Wiseman Were (400m hurdles) have attained the Olympic qualifying marks.

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