The 2017 Africa Nations Cup is almost upon us, with the coaches of the 16 teams putting the final touches to their preparations this week.
KweséSports introduces the tacticians seeking continental glory in Gabon—next up Group B featuring Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Zimbabwe.
ALIOU CISSE (SENEGAL)
Cisse captained Senegal to their quarter-final place at the 2002 Fifa World Cup and is now coach of the country, the youngest tactician in the 2017 finals at the age of 40.
He enjoyed a fine playing career in Europe with Lille and Paris St Germain in France, before later heading to then top-flight sides Birmingham City and Portsmouth in England.
He also coached Senegal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London before being handed the reins of the senior side, who he has led to the top of the African list in the Fifa World Rankings.
HENRYK KASPERCZAK (TUNISIA)
Kasperczak is returning to the Nations Cup finals for the sixth time, having amassed huge experience of Africa’s elite national competition.
A former World Cup star with Poland, helping them to third at the World Cup in 1974, the 70-year-old carries an ever-hopeful Tunisia into this year’s tournament – some 23 years after he first appeared.
He has had some success with Tunisia before, leading them to second place in 1996 where they lost to hosts South Africa, while he also took Cote d’Ivoire to third in 1994 and Mali to the semi-finals in 2002. He had less success with Senegal (2008) and Mali (2010).
GEORGE LEEKENS (ALGERIA)
Leekens (pictured) is one of the few coaches in the 2017 Nations Cup field to have led a side at the Fifa World Cup – he took his native Belgium to the tournament in France in 1998 where they did not impress.
He returned for a second spell in charge of Belgium in 2010 and was also in charge of Tunisia at the 2015 Nations Cup finals where they disappointed.
The well-travelled 67-year-old has coached in Turkey, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, while he found success as a player with Club Bruges, who he helped to five league titles.
CALLISTO PASUWA (ZIMBABWE)
The 46-year-old is the least experienced of the coaches at the Nations Cup finals, but has done well since coming through the ranks of Zimbabwean football.
He was an international player and showed much promise as a midfielder before crippling knee injuries curtailed his career.
He took to coaching and having done well with the Zimbabwe U23 side, was elevated to the senior team after winning the domestic league title with Dynamos four years in a row between 2011 and 2014.
By Nick Said