An African team will break the World Cup semi-finals barrier if the continent places more faith in its own coaches, according to Africa’s most decorated club coach Pitso Mosimane.
For the first time since the World Cup started in 1930, there will be an all-African coaching cast for teams from the continent at the global finals in Qatar.
The appointment of Walid Regragui as Morocco manager last month, to replace Vahid Halilhodzic, means all five African qualifiers will be handled by a local coach, barring any sudden change of heart by football federations.
The former Wydad Casablanca boss joins Tunisia’s Jalel Kadri and former internationals Otto Addo (Ghana), Aliou Cisse (Senegal) and Rigobert Song (Cameroon) as preparations for the tournament intensify with friendlies.
“To have trust in African coaches is massive and shows a great sense of growth on the continent that must be sustained,” Mosimane told BBC Sport Africa.
“This is not a campaign against foreign coaches but applause to the decision-makers in our national associations.
“A lot of people ask why African teams have not gone beyond the last eight or contested for the World Cup title itself, and I believe this is a big step to get there.
“Africa can definitely break that semi-final barrier if we back our own coaches who truly understand the mentality, cultural challenges and methods required to perform.”
Just three African sides have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup before; Cameroon in 1990 under Valery Nepomnyashchy (Soviet Union, now Russia), Senegal in 2002 coached by Frenchman Bruno Metsu and then Ghana in 2010 with Serbia’s Milovan Rajevac.
The debate over a lack of opportunity for African coaches in their own countries has long been a passionate one, with many believing federations tend towards foreigners when appointing a national coach.
But opting for homegrown coaches this time is a significant swing in favour of locals, who have been long overshadowed by coaches from Europe and South America at the finals.