Appiah: People like to push black coaches around
NELSPRUIT, South Africa (AP) — Victory for Ghana or Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations won't only end a long wait for the title, it'll also bring the first success for a black African coach at the tournament in over 20 years.
In a sideshow to Wednesday's semifinals, Ghana's Kwesi Appiah and Nigeria's Stephen Keshi will again push forward the reputation of black coaches against the foreign white managers who have dominated African football for decades.
Former national captain Appiah leads Ghana against Belgian coach Paul Put and Burkina Faso. Keshi, also a former skipper, takes charge of Nigeria against Frenchman Patrice Carteron and Mali.
Appiah and Keshi are former cup winners as players making the rare graduation to national coach. And both believe black coaches are making progress on a continent where Europeans have generally been trusted with the top teams.
Ivory Coast's Yeo Martial was the last black African coach to win the cup in 1992.
Appiah said the problem, in his experience, had been black coaches being undermined and allowing themselves to be "pushed around."
"I have total respect for white coaches but once a black coach is given the opportunity ... if they get the support needed, they can do the same as anybody can do," Appiah said. "The most important thing is the black coach being strong and not allowing people to tell you what to do. Most of the time that's what happens.
"They may find out we're black and people take the opportunity to push you around."
Keshi captained Nigeria to its last cup title in 1994, when the coach was Dutchman Clemens Westerhof.
Since then, South Africa won under white coach Clive Barker, Cameroon won back-to-back titles under Europeans, Tunisia succeeded with French coach Roger Lemerre, and Zambia won last year with another Frenchman, Herve Renard.
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