By Katondwaci Marvin

National soccer Coaches get the most blame whenever their teams perform poorly at tournaments especially in Africa. However I have come to comprehend that like a fish starts to rot from the head; the football administrators are to blame for their wrong choice of tactician’s for their national teams.

Three quarters of the National soccer team coaches in Africa are not appointed by the so called “technical committees”. The president’s of the football associations and their Henchmen hand pick the coaches depending on what they want and can afford. This mentality has led to the continent having many foreign coaches leading countries especially in major tournaments.

At the recently concluded World cup in South Africa, Rabah Saadane stuck out like a sore thumb as the only African leading a team in what was supposed to be an African World cup! A closer look at the previous world cups the story is sad. Of the 34 African teams that contested the World Cup before the 2010 world cup in South Africa, 24 have been led by a foreigner. Yet five of Africa’s six U17 or U20 World Cup wins have been won by African coaches!

African Managers are well known to be able to handle the African Nations cup, Champions league, Confederations cup and the other continental cups. Yet they never get the chance whenever it comes to International events. Meanwhile no country has won the world cup with an expatriate coach! Though there is always a first time for every thing, there is a reason why this has happened since 1930.

I would like to commend 51 year old Sunil Gulati the current president of the United States Soccer Federation for sticking with 52 year old Bob Bradley as coach of the USA national soccer team since December 8th 2006 to date. You would be blind if you failed to see the progress the USA team has made. If you have forgotten take a look at their confederations cup performance beating current world champions Spain 2-0 and losing 3-2 to 6 time world champions Brazil. This happened because Bob Bradley was given the chance and time to represent his country. He knows the players, Culture of the country and above all has the heart.

Foreign coaches are not bad in fact they are more experienced than the local based coaches but the structure in which they work is where the problem is.

An assistant anywhere in world in any profession is supposed to be able to complement his boss to produce better results, on top of that in case of an emergency the assistant should be able to fill the shoes of his boss with ease. However you can’t say the same for African football national team coaches since the gap between the foreign coaches and the assistants (who are local) is too big meaning they can’t compliment each other.

Africans believe that it’s the grass root structures that matter yes they do, but there is no way you can follow a system when all the time you are altering coaches. All overseas tacticians come with their own tactics and before you know it they are fired for poor performance and others come in with divergent tactics. African countries employ foreign managers who don’t understand the culture of the players. How do they expect the players to understand their tactics?

This puts enormous pressure on the Presidents since they quickly promise the impossible. After they have failed they look for a scape goat and the coaches take all the blame as usual. The desire for quick results has negatively affected the whole continent and this has started reflecting on the pitch.

Great thread, it really should not matter the color of the player or coach, since after all, France won the World Cup in 1998 with African players, and reached the 2006 final with African players.

At the group stage in the 2010 world cup, eight teams with native coaches and another eight led by foreign ones were eliminated. Of the eight foreign coaches who could not make it to the last 16, four were managers of African teams. 12 Native and four foreign coaches advanced to the last 16 of the tournament from which six native and two foreign Coaches qualified to the quarter finals. All the teams that made it to the semi final stage had native coaches. It therefore goes without saying that a native coach was the eventual champion, a tradition that has stood for 80 years.

The predicament of employing local coaches is that the Presidents then manipulate line ups to suite their personal interests. For fear of losing their jobs the coaches are forced to select players the “Big men” want since most of them are paid out of the president’s “pockets”.

One pure fact is that foreign coaches are more experienced than the local based coaches. However you can’t convince me that African coaches are not good enough. The European coaches are only a quick fix to a long term crisis. If the continent is looking at the future then they should heavily invest in local coaches.

With no African having ever taken his nation into the World Cup second round, these foreign appointments look set to continue. That doesn’t mean that the African coaches can’t be as good, because what man has done man can do irrespective of color and race. It’s even in the Bible Mathew 17:20 Jesus said that if you have Faith as small as a mustered seed you can be able to move a mountain! How much faith do we need to have an African Manager leading a team to a world cup trophy?

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