AFRICA MUST BACK THEIR OWNThomas Kwenaite
The latest to express such views is former Dutch international Patrick Kluivert who does not have a proven record in coaching but does have an impressive playing career for clubs, inclufing Barcelona.
Mind you, there is nothing wrong in expressing your views about your ambitions and desires. But the question remains as to their true intentions to start their coaching careers in Africa.
Truth is, most have either been failures in their respective countries or are aware that Europe has no time to invest in a greenhorn fresh from hanging up his boots. But of course, Africa is an exception. We delight in embracing anything European, even at the expense of being guinea pigs. We freely offer ourselves as stomping ground to every Tom, Dick and Harry.
Every rookie European is afforded the opportunity to launch their coaching careers. And once they have ticked a couple of boxes to enhance their CVs, they dump us for Europe where their careers simply flourish.
Yet by a strange twist of fate, Europe has no time for aspiring African coaches. The other day, former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince complained that doors are completely shut in the faces of black coaches. Could it perhaps be that European club bosses consider African coaches inferior? Congolese Florent Ibenge is the only African I know who comes to mind when you talk of Africans who have coached in Europe.
Are African coaches really inferior and lack the ability and gumption to coach at the highest level? I tend to disagree and a look at the history of most African countries indicates that most, if not all, have achieved success under the guidance of indigenous coaches. Ghana have won four Africa Cup of Nations titles and on each occasion was coached by a Ghanaian. Egypt have won the most number of AFCON titles and the majority of the crowns were lifted under a local. SA won their only title under a local.
But in truth, you cannot entirely blame Europeans for their invasion of the ‘Dark Continent’. The majority of FA presidents across Africa are naturally obsessed with European coaches.
Ghana, who have employed a European coach, are squirming in embarrassment about a man who is running their national team with a remote control while swinging on a hammock somewhere at a holiday resort in Spain.
With their AFCON qualifiers against Mozambique only a few weeks away, a panicky Ghana has been forced to instruct Avram Grant to cancel his holiday and, for a change, come back to Accra to work. Let that be a lesson to other African federations to invest in their own.