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Football | Africa

Kwesi Appiah © Action Images

Post Afcon Africa shows constraint

Nearly all the coaches that put up appearance at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations remained at their posts after the tournament despite an unsatisfactory offering from a couple of them.

Football Federations cautiously broke with the tradition of throwing the baby out with the bath water to keep their temper with their coaches, perhaps under the constraints of time or a simple evolution in the trend of African football.

The cancerous ethic of building, demolishing and rebuilding may be nearing the beginning of its end in the continent’s football, however, other reasons may have prompted the stunning patience of officials with their coaches this time and not necessarily the need to skim the good off the bad and build on it.

The Fifa World Cup qualifying resumes next month, which makes any attempt to bring some changes to the technical staff very precarious, and few coaches would be willing to accept the near-impossible mission of setting up a viable squad within less than six weeks.

The two best national teams ahead of the 2013 Afcon were Ivory Coast and Algeria, both of which failed to make major impact in the competition, with the North Africans crashing out in the group stage and the Elephants bowing out in the quarterfinals.

The fans, media and some officials from both nations called for the dismissal of coaches Sabri Lamouchi and Vahid Halilhodzic, but their respective football bodies shut their ears and even reinforced their staff ahead of the looming qualifiers.

“We have plans to reform the Ivorian team but the project can go along with the resident coach,” Augustin Sidy Diallo, president of the Cote D’Ivoire Football Federation (FIF) told in an interview on Saturday.

“Sabri Lamouchi has made some progress despite the fact that he did not reach the final of the 2013 Afcon. Firing him and employing a new coach would be starting from the scratch all over once more. Reforming a team doesn’t mean you have to necessarily sack a coach. It depends on the plan, the financial means and expectation of the football body.”

In Algeria, the Bosnian-born coach enjoys the reputation as one who has rejuvenated the Fennec Foxes and laid a good foundation for a bright future, which the FA sees as a major reason to keep him on board.

“The World Cup qualifiers will begin soon and we believe our team can survive and reach the finals despite what happened at the South Africa 2013,” said Bouzenad Nadir, secretary general of Algeria Football Federation (FAF).

“Vahid has not concluded his project with the team. He is still working and we are seeing the progress. We hope to continue and see how it turns out finally.”

Another team that failed to live up to expectation was Ghana, but James Kwesi Appiah was not given the matching orders for the same reasons as above. South Africa, DR Congo and Zambia kept their coaches while Tunisia’s Sami Trabelsi resigned willingly and was never fired, according to the football federation.


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