AFCON 2017: End of the road for local coaches

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An overseas coach will once again carry the day come February 5 in Libreville.

That will be the 16th time they have lifted the trophy in 31 editions, one more than their African counterparts.

That will also be the third time an overseas coach is winning it in the most recent four Nations Cup editions, Frenchman Herve Renard having clinched it with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015.

Of course before that, Egypt’s Hassan Shehata had carried African coaches flag with a hattrick of Nations Cup honours from 2006 to 2010, with Nigerian legend Stephen Keshi chipping in with one for his country in 2013.

But concerns over the growth and development of indigenous have always been upon us at every Cup of Nations. The 2017 edition in Gabon has not been any different.

Only four coaches out of 16 in charge of as many national teams at this 31stedition are African. That is only one more than the number at the 2015 edition.

 The four had hoped to add onto the late Keshi’s 2013 feat by at least one of them lifting the title on Sunday.

And they had started well, winning two opening matches and drawing as many.

Aliou Cisse of Senegal and Florent Ibenge of DRC even went ahead to qualify for the quarterfinals as group leaders as Zimbabwe’s Callisto Pasuwa and Baciro Cande of Guinea Bissau packed their bags.

But that was as far as they could go as Ghana, coached by Avram Grant of Israel and Cameroon, managed by Belgian Hugo Broos, knocked out DRC and Senegal respectively. As Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya always says, “We as countries in Africa have to have more belief in our local coaches,” and that does not have to change now that indigenous coaches have fallen short.

For now though, they have to applaud as a Belgian, an Israeli, Argentinean and Portuguese lead Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt and Burkina Faso in the title quest.