The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has witnessed an intriguing trend in recent years, with the last three tournaments being won by coaches of the same nationality.
Notably, these coaches are former players who have transitioned into coaching and achieved these successes as coaches in their 40s.
GhanaWeb takes a look into the profiles of the coaches who guided their respective teams to victory in the last three AFCON editions:
AFCON 2019 – Djamel Belmadi, Algeria
Coach Djamel Belmadi masterminded Algeria’s triumph at the 2019 African Cup of Nations at age 43. Leading the Desert Foxes to victory, Belmadi steered his team past Senegal in the final, securing Algeria’s first AFCON title in 29 years.
Belmadi, a former Algerian international himself, not only secured the trophy but also ensured an unbeaten run for his side throughout the tournament. Belmadi who led Algeria to the AFCON 2023 played 20 games for the Foxes during his days as a player.
AFCON 2021 – Aliou Cissé, Senegal
Aliou Cissé, the former Senegalese captain, meticulously assembled a formidable squad that clinched the 2021 AFCON title after narrowly missing out to Algeria previously. With senior players such as Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly in the lineup, Senegal overcame the formidable challenge posed by the seven-time champions to lift the prestigious AFCON trophy.
Cissé’s leadership finally bore fruit in 2021 at age 45. However, his subsequent attempt in AFCON 2023 saw Senegal exit the tournament in the Round of 16. Aliou Cissé made 35 appearances as a player for the Senegalese national team as captain
AFCON 2023 – Emerse Faé, Ivory Coast
Relatively unknown figure in the world of coaching, Emerse Faé against all odds led the Elephants to win the 3rd AFCON title. The 40-year-old was appointed as caretaker of Ivory Coast starting from the Round of 16, following the dismissal of head coach Jean-Louis Gasset.
He quickly instilled a positive atmosphere and tactical flexibility, leading Ivory Coast to a dominant knockout phase performance and eventually winning the title on home soil defeating Nigeria’s Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro.
Fae was just beginning his football career when Ivory Coast won its first AFCON in 1992 and when he called time on his international career in 2012, the Elephants won the title again in 2015. But he finally managed to win it as a coach on home soil.
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By: Joseph Adamafio