No foreign coach for African teams if Blatter has his way

 

EAST AFRICA’S PROSPECTS of developing its football technically look bleak if world soccer governing body Fifa implements a proposal to bar foreign coaches from tutoring in Africa.

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Fifa president Sepp Blatter has tabled a proposal before the Fifa technical committee stipulating that national team coaches have to be nationals of the same country.

Blatter says foreign coaches lack the required passion, especially those involved with African teams, and are to blame for the poor performance of the teams in the World Cup.

He wants foreign coaches to be banned from national teams.

“In Africa recently, many of the countries competing in the Cup of Nations (held in Ghana) had foreign coaches but all have now been sacked,” said Blatter.

“Of course, national associations are free to choose whoever they believe is the right man, but I do think that the cause of international football would be made stronger with indigenous coaches.

“I do not think it is possible to guide young players in international football, motivate them and bring improvement through a translator. I will raise the issue with the Technical Committee. If we had such a rule, maybe it would impact on the freedom of the associations. But we can take up the matter,” said Blatter.

ONLY FOUR OF THE COACH-es of the 16 teams that took part in the Cup of Nations were from the country they were coaching.. For the second time running, Egypt won the tournament with an Egyptian coach, Hassan Shehatta. This tended to reinforce Blatter’s argument.

If the proposal goes through, East Africa will suffer, given that Tanzania and Uganda football has improved significantly in the past few years after contracting foreign coaches.

Tanzania had not won an Africa Nations Cup qualifier a decade before the coming of Brazilian coach Marcio Maximo. Maximo has injected fresh drive into the Tanzania game and brought back interest and support around the country. Tanzania narrowly missed out on the 2008 Nations Cup.

Uganda too has made giant steps since contracting Czech national Laszlo Csaba and is currently the highest ranked team in the Confederation of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa).

The same cannot be said of Kenya’s Harambee Stars under Kenyan coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee.

Kenyan football has fallen to its lowest levels in the past three years.

Mulee is considered a default coach given that Kenya Football Federation has had financial problems and cannot afford a foreign coach.

But the excitement exhibited by the federation two years ago when they contracted Frenchman Bernard Lama was revealed just how much the country looks to foreigners to resuscitate its dying game.

But if Blatter gets his way, Mulee could be in for the long haul as Tanzania and Uganda look internally for new coaches.

By ODINDO AYIEKO

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