What you need to know:
By the end of the qualification round, there were 14 coaches expected to take care of their home nations in Cameroon but Egypt’s late change from Hossam El Badry to Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz brought the number down to 13 but it is still a significant rise given that only three locals out of 16 coaches were in the dugout in 2015
What is an Africa Cup without a debate on whether local coaches should be given opportunities to lead their home nations at the continental showpiece over their foreign counterparts?
Interestingly, there is an even split of Afcon triumphs between the local and foreign coaches at 16 each with Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi tieing the contest for the locals at the last edition in Egypt.
This, just as was the case with the late Stephen Keshi for Nigeria in 2013, seems to have strengthened the argument in favour of more Africans as for the first time in years, there will more nationals in charge of teams at the tournament as countries like Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea and Mali opted for locals to tip the balance from 15 expatriates at Egypt 2019.
By the end of the qualification round, there were 14 coaches expected to take care of their home nations in Cameroon but Egypt’s late change from Hossam El Badry to Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz brought the number down to 13 but it is still a significant rise given that only three locals out of 16 coaches were in the dugout in 2015.
Previously, these coaching gigs have been dominated by the French but with Queiroz joining Nigeria’s Jose Peseiro and Cameroon’s Toni Conceição, the Portuguese influence in Africa seems to be on the rise. Conceição will actually battle three local coaches from Cape Verde, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso in Group A.
Keen Arsenal fans from the late 90s might remember Kaba Diawara, who is Guinea coach.
Claude Le Roy has the record for coaching at the Nations Cup finals having led six different teams at nine tournaments.
They were followed by Henryk Kasperczak (seven), Michel Dussuyer and Herve Renard (six each) plus Alain Giresse and Henri Michel (five each). All are French, including the former Polish international Kasperczak, who became a French citizen after starting his coaching career there.
For the Africans, Mahmoud Al Gohari, CK Gyamfi, Florent Ibenge, Fred Osam Duodu, Rabah Saadane and Hassan Shehata, who won at all his appearances, lead with three tournaments in charge. Guinea Bissau coach Baciro Cande is due to join this group as he takes care of his third successive tournament starting this weekend.
The 2002 finals in Mali was the last time there were more African coaches than foreigners at the finals. With 16 teams in contest, there were nine African coaches and seven expatriates but you have to go back to Tunisia 1965 to find a tournament where all teams (six) were handled by locals.
Of the 32 past editions of the Cup of Nations, only six have seen African coaches dominate.
There have been eight tournaments were the split was even, but 18 – including the last seven stretching back to 2008 - where non-African coaches were in majority on the bench.
Most titles won as coach
3: Charles Gyamfi (for Ghana in
1963, 1965 and 1982)
3: Hassan Shehata (for Egypt in
2006, 2008 and 2010)
*Both retained the title at least once
Coaches - multiple teams/titles
Hervé Renard: Zambia (2012) and
Ivory Coast (2015)
Won title as player & coach
Mahmoud El-Gohary, Egypt: 1959
(player), 1998 (manager)
Stephen Keshi, Nigeria: 1994
(player), 2013 (manager)