Qatar 2022: Get to know the five gallant African coaches making history at the world cup

Emmanuel Kwarteng November 23, 2022
German-born Ghanaian international Otto Addo. Photo: Ghana Football Association

The men’s World Cup, the top tournament hosted by FIFA, is now being held in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. For the first time in World Cup history, all five African nations will be coached by Africans. After years of African countries relying primarily on foreign, white, and Western coaches, many believe this is a turning point.

Here, Face2Face Africa introduces you to the courageous African coaches who are leading the charge for their respective countries in Qatar.

Senegal coach Aliou Cissé

Aliou Cissé, a Senegalese football coach and former player, was born on March 24, 1976. He began his professional career in France before moving to England to play for Birmingham City and Portsmouth. Cissé mostly played as a defensive midfielder, but he also played some time at center back. 

Having previously served as interim coach after Amara Traoré was let go in 2012, he is now the permanent manager of the Senegalese national team. During the 2012/13 season, he served as the under-23 team’s assistant coach. He used to be a professional soccer player in England’s Premier League.

Cissé helped his country finish second in the AFCON for the first time since 2002 when they lost to Algeria and didn’t win. On February 6, 2022, thanks to a penalty strike by Sadio Mane, they made amends for their past mistakes and secured their first African Cup of Nations. Senegal will battle it out with host nation Qatar, as well as Ecuador and the Netherlands, in Group A.

Moroccan head coach Walid Regragui

Walid Regragui, or Regragui as he is more commonly known, was born on September 23, 1975, in Corbeil-Essonnes, France. Walid Regragui was born in France and raised there for the majority of his formative years. Regragui, the current coach of the Moroccan national team, played professionally from 1988 until 2011. 

According to the FourFourTwo report, Regragui’s former profession as a football player brought in a respectable income. Regragui switched from playing the sport to teaching it as soon as he retired. During the thirty years that Regragui coached football, he was in charge of many different teams. 

Regragui, a native of France, represented Morocco at the highest level. He has played for other teams like Toulouse, AC Ajaccio, Grenoble, and Racing Santander. For his final playing season, he moved from Grenoble to Moghreb Tetouan in Morocco in the summer of 2009. 

In September 2012, Regragui stopped playing, and right away he started working as an assistant coach for the Moroccan national team. Regragui was hired on August 31, 2022, to replace Vahid Halilhodzic as head coach of the Moroccan national football team. At the FIFA World Cup, which is going on right now in Qatar, Regragui will be in charge of the Moroccan team. Morocco will face Croatia, Belgium, and Canada in Group F.

Ghana coach Otto Addo

Otto Addo, who played football for both Ghana and Germany, is now the head coach of the national team. The 47-year-old has had quite a varied and interesting career. He got his start in the industry as a player, then moved into scouting, and then settled into coaching. 

He honed his skills while playing for the Hummelsbuttel, a Hamburg-based amateur team, between the ages of eight and seventeen. For Hannover 96, who play in the second division, he was a great signing. In the summer of 1999, he joined Borussia Dortmund, despite interest from numerous elite clubs.

Addo started coaching in 2009 with his old team, Hamburger SV, where he was a youth team coach and assistant manager until 2015. Before the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Ibrahim Tanko was replaced by Addo as the head scout of the Ghana national football team. This happened in December 2013, according to reports.

Addo was hired as a “talent coach” by his former team, Borussia Dortmund, in April 2019. He had previously served in a comparable capacity at Borussia Mönchengladbach since 2017. After Dortmund beat RB Leipzig in the final of the 2020/21 DFB-Pokal, he got his first coaching award. Ghana shares Group H with Portugal, Uruguay, and South Korea.

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri

Jalel Kadri, a former player and current head coach of the Tunisian national football team, is a native of Tunisia. Kadri was born in Tozeur, Tunisia, on December 14, 1971. He mostly spent his formative years in Tozeur. Kadri has been a member of the Tunisian national squad since January 30, 2022. He has extensive coaching experience and has previously worked for several teams.

His coaching career began in 2009 with ES Zarzis and continued in 2010 with EGS Gafsa. Kadri coached US Monastir between 2010 and 2011. Kadri subsequently played for Damac FC, Al-Ansar FC, ES Beni-Khaled, and Al-Nahda Club. For the 2013–14 season, he coached Al-Nahda Club after previously working as an assistant coach for the Tunisian national team.

During 2007 and 2008, he led the Tunisian Olympic football squad as its head coach. Kadri was the head coach of the Saudi clubs Damac FC and Al Ansar FC. He had a successful coaching career in his home country of Tunisia, where he led many teams to higher leagues and showed great promise over the course of four amazing seasons in the Professional League 1. Kadri’s Tunisia side will share Group D with defending champions France, Australia, and Denmark.

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song

Born on July 1, 1976, in Nkenglicock, Cameroon, Rigobert Song Bahanag is a former professional football player. He specialized as a defender. He is the current manager of the Cameroon national team. As a defender, he earned widespread recognition. He broke a record by taking part in eight straight African Cup of Nations games, five of which he led his team as captain. 

He has played in 35 straight games for the team, which is a competition record. He won two CAF African Cup of Nations championships in 2000 and 2002. Song has played for the Indomitable Lions 137 times. 

Before joining them, he played for clubs in England, France, Italy, Germany, and Turkey. He participated in the World Cup four times. Song also coached the Under-21 team for Cameroon. His Cameroon team is in the same group as Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland.

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