There you have it! Local coaches are better than foreign coaches. As far as the 2013 edition of The Africa Cup of nations (AfCon) is concerned: 4 of the 8 teams that made the quarterfinals were led by a local coach. South Africa made the quarter finals for the first time since 2002, and Nigeria are in their first final since 2000. Then there’s the example of Egypt winning three Cup of nations titles in a row all under the guidance of a local coach. I could go on and on cherry picking examples of African football teams hitting new levels of success by finding the guts to go native, but I won’t because I truly believe the issue goes much deeper than that.
On the flip side there is also the case of Burkina Faso making their first ever AfCon final under the leadership of a foreign coach, as well as several other example that could likely be raised to make a case for expatriate coaches in African football. Yet, is the nationality/tradition/footballing culture (tick where appropriate) really the defining aspect of the success on the football pitch? Aren’t there other stakeholders (not just players) with a say on the overall success, or failure, of any given African football team?
In 2010 Fair Reporters, a US based collective that supports investigative journalism, released a report detailing just how bad the cases of mismanagement and corruption are in the other aspects of football management on the continent, specifically targeting incidents in 8 African countries, ranging from FIFA taking sides to protect its people in management disputes in Kenya to grand tenderpreneurial style corruption in the South Africa hosted World Cup of 2010.
The report is said to have been published in the mainstream media of all the 8 countries highlighted in the report, yet at least from the Kenya end of things, I can’t claim to really have seen any kind of shift in the debate over the management of our national team, never mind general football management. Sure there was the big unification of the two wrangling football bodies into one Football Kenya Federation, yet they continues to operate in the same culture of self over responsibility to the nation that runs through the FAIR report. I can’t imagine things are very different in the other nations highlighted in the report or most other football administrations on the continent. We’ve even seen in this Cup of nations the usual continuum of stories that have become synonymous with football in Africa. Those that highlight the symptoms of bad management: non-paid allowances, disgruntled superstars, and yes, this obsession with some foreign coach being recruited to fix everything with his magic wand.