Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

Top 5 African Soccer Coaches

Oct 06, 2022 10:00AM ● By Anand Subramanian

With the advent of new technologies, African coaches have made enormous strides in team administration and coaching. As a result of European colonialism, football was brought to Africa for the first time in the 1860s. Even though the earliest games were documented to have been played in South Africa in 1862 between soldiers and government workers, there were no set rules for the game at the time. Massive tidal waves of change hit African football in the 1990s. 

Bringing football to Europe was a significant shift. Many promising young players hoped to make it big in Europe. In 1934, Egypt was the first African team to compete in the FIFA World Cup. Unlike 1970, 1974, and 1978 World Cups, which each included a single African qualifier, the 1982 tournament featured two teams: Algeria and Cameroon. Two African countries also competed in the World Cup in 1986 and 1990; Morocco advanced to the round of 16 after finishing top in their group in 1986. Cameroon was the first African national team to reach the World Cup quarter finals in 1990. Both Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 were expecting to do the same. In 2010, South Africa was the first African country to host the FIFA World Cup. 

The number of top coaches in Africa has been rising for as long as anybody can remember. 

Numerous African coaches have made significant contributions to the development of sports worldwide. Let's look at some of the top coaches in African football or soccer over the years. 

Jomo Sono


Ephraim Matsilele Jomo Sono, or Sono OIS, is a popular name in South African football circles. He owns a club, coaches, and plays professionally. The "Black Prince of South African Soccer," "Bra J," and "Mjomana'' are just a few of the many nicknames bestowed upon him. Unusually for a footballer, Sono was asked to fill in for one of the Orlando Pirates' regular players during a match he attended. He became well-known for his versatility, dribbling, and pinpoint passing. A supporter of the Orlando Pirates identified him with the same leadership traits as the late President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, and gave him the moniker Jomo ("flaming spear"). After achieving his goals with Orlando Pirates, Sono moved to the United States to play for the New York Cosmos in 1977. In the summers of 1980, 1981, and 1982, Sono finished his North American career with the Toronto Blizzard. Upon retiring from professional football in the United States, Sono moved back to South Africa and, in 1982, bought the Highlands Park club in Johannesburg, rebranding it as the Jomo Cosmos to pay tribute to his former squad. They won the National Soccer League in 1987, the Coca-Cola Cup in 2002, the Bobsave Super Bowl in 1990, and the Super Eight in 2003 when he was the team owner. Furthermore, Sono has been instrumental in scouting and nurturing up-and-coming football talent, particularly in more remote locations. Sono's former recruits have gone on to star for the national team of South Africa and top European teams. As well as being on the board of the Premier Soccer League, Sono is the longest-tenured coach in South Africa's top division. He's also established himself as a successful businessman, having owned and presided over several firms and generated a tidy profit from developing and selling players to European clubs.

Lamine N'Diaye


Lamine N'Diaye is the manager of the Guinean club Horoya AC and is a former player and coach for the Senegalese national team. N'Diaye, a midfielder from Thiès, played professionally for US Rail, SC Orange, Cannes, and Mulhouse. He also suited up for the Senegalese national team. N'Diaye served as the manager of Mulhouse for a short time in 1998. Later, from 2003 to 2006, N'Diaye helmed the Cameroonian club team Coton Sport. When Henryk Kasperczak resigned as coach of the Senegalese national team in January 2008, N'Diaye was named to fill the vacancy. In October of 2008, he was let go from his managerial post. Before taking over as head coach of TP Mazembe in September 2010, N'Diaye was named manager of Moroccan club Maghreb Fez in December 2008. In May 2013, he was promoted to technical director of TP Mazembe. He joined AC Léopards as their head of technical operations in December 2014. As of July 2018, he was managing the Sudanese team Al-Hilal. He was hired as manager of the Guinean team Horoya AC in November 2019.

Read '5 Famous African Soccer Players':

5 Famous African Soccer Players

Africa has provided world football with some famous players who have created magic for their clubs and countries throughout the years. Read More » 


Oliveira Gonçalves


Oliveira Gonçalves is a former coach for the national team of Angola. Although Gonçalves was not a very talented player in his early years, he has become a beloved figure in Angola for his work as a coach, thanks to his analytical approach to the game and his ability to turn around the team's dismal record. Gonçalves won the African Youth Championship with the Under-20 team he coached before taking over the senior team in 2004 for World Cup qualifying. Under his leadership, Angola shocked the continent by finishing ahead of Nigeria in a complex qualifying group and earning a spot in the 2006 World Cup. Group D has Angola, Portugal (their former colonial overlords and 2004 Euro runners-up), Mexico (the then-number-four ranked country in the world), and Iran (a previous qualifier). Playmaker Figueiredo, wingers Ze Kalanga and Edson, and lone striker and national icon Akwa all played crucial roles for Angola, who defied predictions that they would be the whipping boys of the group by employing disciplined and organized tactics among their defense and pairing this with a strong midfield and quick wingers both capable of retaining possession in the middle of the park and also launching pacey counter-attacks. Because of Gonçalves's hard work, Portugal only lost the tournament's first game by a score of 1-0 against Angola, a drastic improvement from the last encounter between the rivals, which had to be called off owing to reckless play by the Pancalas Negras. After Angola lost to the eventual 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions, Mexico, Gonçalves orchestrated probably the country's finest sports moment.

Shuaibu Amodu

Shuaibu Amodu was a striker for the Nigerian national football team and a coach for the national team. After a leg injury terminated his playing days, Amodu handled many Nigerian clubs, including B.C.C. Lions, El-Kanemi Warriors, Shooting Stars, and the South African team Orlando Pirates. Formerly, he oversaw the Nigerian national team from April 2001 to February 2002. It wasn't until April of 2008 that he was again given the position of manager. The Nigeria Football Federation said in December 2009 that Amodu was under pressure, and rumors concerning his future persisted into January 2010. In February of 2010, he was fired. In May 2013, Amodu was named technical director of the Nigerian national teams. After taking over for Stephen Keshi as manager of Nigeria, he was re-appointed to the position in October 2014. Two weeks later, Keshi was back in charge, but he was sacked in July of 2015, and Amodu was brought back to lead the Eagles temporarily. Latder that month, Sunday Oliseh took over permanently in his stead.

Read 'Throwing Bananas: Lack of Progress in Racism Towards African & African Diasporan Soccer Players,  and Redirection of Focus':

pImage by Riadhriadh2004Image by Riadhriadh2004brp

Throwing Bananas: Lack of Progress in Racism Towards African & African Diasporan Soccer Players, and Redirection of Focus

Racism in the soccer industry is not new to the world. However, its persistence, and the lack of infrastructure put behind reform, begs the question: does the European soccer industry lov... Read More » 


Cecil Jones Attuquayefio


Football player and coach Cecil Jones Attuquayefio of Ghana was a key member of the Ghana national team that won the African Nations Cup in 1965 and played for the squad several times. Attuquayefio led Benin to victory in the 2004 African Nations Cup, as well as the 2000 African Champions League and 2004 C.A.F. Confederations Cup while serving as the team's manager. He also oversaw the national squad of Ghana. Attuquayefio coached Liberty Professionals F.C. in the 2008–09 season when he was named Coach of the Century. In 2000, Attuquayefio's Ghanaian team Accra Hearts of Oak, won the African Champions League after suffering just one defeat all season long under his leadership (to DC Motema Pembe). On May 12, 2015, Jones Attuquayefio died from throat cancer at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana's capital.

Read 'Most Popular Sports Across the African Continent':

Most Popular Sports Across the African Continent

Most Popular Sports Across the African Continent

In the last several decades, Africa has been a major source of dynamic athletic talent that spans a wide range of sports. Read More » 


 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

Read more from Anand Subramanian:

Steps Blacks Should Know Before Starting a Business in the UK

Steps Blacks Should Know Before Starting a Business in the UK

As you are aware, Africans are establishing firms in the U.K. as a hedging strategy in an uncertain economic environment and to capitalize on global trade possibilities that the U.K. is w... Read More » 


Black-Centered Communities to Visit in Canada

Black-Centered Communities to Visit in Canada

Black communities in Canada have existed for nearly 300 years. They have given birth to many famous Canadians, including singers, inventors, athletes, politicians, and others. Read More » 


5 Best Dancers from South Africa

Dancing is a way of life in South Africa. It defines people, their preferred style, or their chosen style. Read More »