Local Coaches Will Manage All of Africa’s World Cup-Bound Teams

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be momentous for the African continent since local coaches will be in charge of all five countries that have picked tickets for the quadrennial spectacle. Walid Regragui will now join a stellar ensemble of four other African coaches to lead their nations after Morocco picked him as the Atlas Lions’ head coach. African coaches have finally had the bravery to assume leadership at the highest level, which is a huge step forward for their development.

Walid Regragui, Morocco

Walid Regragui, coach of Wydad Athletic Club during the 2021/22 CAF Champions League quarter-final between CR Belouizdad and Wydad Athletic Club at the July 5, 1962 stadium in Algiers, Algeria on April 16, 2022 (Photo by APP/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The 47-year-old, a former Moroccan international who won 45 caps for the national side, was recently named coach of the Atlas Lions by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), succeeding Vahid Halilhodi, who had assisted the squad in earning qualifying. After a productive campaign in the top division of Morocco, when he guided Wydad Athletic Club to both the local championship and the CAF Champions League trophy, he assumes control of the national squad. Morocco will compete against Croatia, Belgium, and Canada in World Cup Group F.

Aliou Cissé, Senegal

Aliou Cisse, Coach of Senegal

The defending African champions, Senegal, have had a local coach since Aliou Cissé assumed the position in 2015. Eight years later, the former captain of the national team guided them to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations victory, and the choice paid off when he was crowned coach of the year at the CAF Awards in July.

He qualified the Lions of Teranga for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, therefore he will lead them to the tournament for the second time in a row.

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The Senegalese qualified after overturning a defeat against Egypt’s Pharaohs, who were then led by Portuguese strategist Carlos Queiroz, in the first leg. After a 1-1 aggregate draw, they prevailed 3-1 in extra-time penalties.

Rigobert Song, Cameroon

Rigobert Song, Coach of Cameroon

Rigobert Song, who was hired on February 28, 2022, will go down in history as the second Cameroonian coach to have assisted the Indomitable Lions in reaching the world championship. The late Léonard Nseke led the squad to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States, becoming the first Cameroonian to lead the country to the World Cup.

Song’s Cameroon won 2-1 in the equivalent match in Algiers to overcome Algeria 2-1 and go to Qatar based on away goals. Cameroon had lost to Algeria 1-0 in the first leg. In extra time, Karl Toko Ekambi scored the crucial goal to send the Lions to Qatar.

The World Cup qualification turned out to be the outcome he required to dissuade many who had previously questioned the hiring decision.

Jalel Kadri, Tunisia

Jalel Kadri, Coach of Tunisia

For the sixth time in their existence, the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia qualified for the World Cup thanks to local boy Jalel Kadri.

Kadri was named the team’s head coach shortly after Burkina Faso eliminated Tunisia from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. He quickly set out on a rebuilding effort, which enabled Tunisia to recover from its setback and earn a spot in the World Cup.

Tunisia defeated Mali’s inexperienced team 1-0 on the overall scoreboard to qualify. He joins Nabil Maâloul and Abdelmajid Chetali (1978) as the third indigenous strategist to assist Tunisia in reaching the World Cup (1998).

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Otto Addo, Ghana

Otto Addo, Coach of Ghan

Following Ghana’s victory over highly favoured Nigeria, Otto Addo showed daring coaching prowess to help the Black Stars go to the World Cup. Following Ghana’s group-stage elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations, the former international was appointed head coach of the squad, succeeding Milovan Rajevac. Ghana defied all odds to qualify for the World Cup with a 1-1 draw in Abuja following a 0-0 draw at home in Kumasi. The tactician, who is also an assistant coach at Bundesliga club Dortmund in Germany, came up with a flawless tactical plan to outperform a highly skilled Nigerian team. He now has everything to prove when he captains the Ghanaian team in Qatar.

Who is the new Atlas Lions head coach, Walid Regragui?

Walid Regragui, 46, was born in Corbeil-Essonne, a suburb of southern France. He began his career playing for many French clubs, including Toulouse, Ajaccio, Dijon, and Grenoble. He also earned caps for the Moroccan national team.

Regragui started his coaching career in 2012–2013 with the Moroccan national team under Rachid Taoussi after retiring from football. He continued to lead FUS Rabat until 2020 when he relocated to Qatar to lead top-flight club Al Duhail.

He returned to Morocco in August 2021 and took over as Wydad Club Athletic’s head coach, leading them to both the league championship and the CAF Champions League in his first season.

Africa is proud that there are five local coaches at the World Cup.

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An important step in the growth of African football is the participation of the five African coaches at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

This alone serves as sufficient evidence that, given a chance, local coaches’ knowledge can also be effective. This will be a chance for the entire world to see how talented African tacticians are, as well as a sign of support for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) coach training program.

The curriculum, which was initially introduced in 2018, aspires to achieve the highest certification in the CAF coach education system, which is equivalent to the qualification of top-level coaches worldwide.

The aforementioned license is only available to coaches who are currently competing at a professional level, who have proven their ability to perform and succeed, and who have already obtained a CAF A license or another credential that has been approved by CAF.

A growing number of African local coaches have demonstrated passion while working with first division clubs, in the league, and with national teams in CAF competitions.

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