In June this year, 32 of the world’s greatest football nations, will meet at the World Cup in Brazil.
It is going to be a feast for the fans thanks to many of the best hands in the game gathering in what many people believe is the spiritual home of the game.
Africa is ably represented by Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast. We take a look at the five managers, who will be curating the success stories of the continent’s representatives.
Stephen Keshi – Nigeria
Nigeria’s most celebrated coach of the last decade, he goes to the World Cup with a winning team that is gradually becoming the envy of other African nations.
The World Cup in Brazil affords Keshi a unique opportunity to continue what has so far been an impressive international football run.
The West African country goes to Brazil as Africa’s current champions, a feat largely engineered by Keshi.
Keshi is two years into a job that has seen him become one of Africa’s most respected managers in recent years.
A successful player in his time, he is one of two individuals to have won the Nations Cup as both a player and a coach.
He trained in the United States, and was Head Coach of the Nigerian youth team that played at the 2001 African Youth Championship.
Prior to becoming Head Coach of the Super Eagles, he managed the Togolese National team, and saw them through their first ever World Cup qualification in 2006. He was however replaced by the German, Otto Pfister.
He also coached the Malian national team.
James Kwesi Appiah – Ghana
Ghana earned her third World Cup appearance this year.
It was special in many ways. It was the first time in the country’s history that a local handler has successfully sent the team to the competition.
More refreshing was the fact that the qualification was sealed by a former national team player.
James Kwesi Appiah, who played for Ghana at senior level between 1987 and 1992, managing a team made up of a good mix of new players and veterans, secured qualification.
Having worked under former coach Milovan Rajevac, Appiah was brought in to handle the Ghana team in April 2012, after the exit of the former.
Appiah has had training stints at English side, Manchester City. He played for local club, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, during his active years.
Vahid Halilhodžic -Algeria
Affectionately called ‘Vaha’, the Bosnian the team overcome a difficult World Cup qualification for the North Africans. Vaha is no stranger to the dynamics of securing World Cup qualifications.
He qualified Ivory Coast to the 2010 World Cup but saw an unimpressive Nations Cup in Angola ruin his stay as manager. He was fired four months to kick off.
He took over the Algerian job in July 2011, signing a three-year deal. Two years on, he qualified the team to Brazil, at the expense of 2013 Nations Cup finalists, Burkina Faso.
A successful player in his time, he played at the 1982 World Cup. He capped 15 times for the Yugoslav national team, scoring eight goals in the process.
He’s taken managerial roles at Paris St. Germain, Lille OSC, Raja Cassablanca, Trabzonspor, and Dynamo Zagreb.
Volker Finke - Cameroon
For 16 years, he managed the German club side SC Freiburg. That alone was good enough a premise to land him the job as coach of the Indomitable Lions.
He sealed the team’s seventh World Cup appearance this year, the six others being 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010.
Before becoming boss of the Cameroonian team, he had worked as Manager of Japanese club side Urawa Red Diamonds, and FC Koln.
Sabri Lamouchi – Ivory Coast
The 41-year-old had a successful playing career at club and international level before accepting to be coach of the Elephants in 2012.
He played for the French national team between 1996 and 2001. He however missed an opportunity to be part of the victorious 1998 World Cup winning squad, when he was axed alongside five other players before the games kicked off.
He struggled to qualify Ivory Coast to next year’s World Cup. The Ivorian FA has however kept faith with him.
Sabri played for Monaco, Auxerre, Marseille, Genoa, Parma, Inter Milan, Ales, Al-Rayyan, Umm-Salal and Al-Kharitiyah.