Cameroon legend Patrick Mboma feels that indigenous African coaches are the right answer if the continent is to become a dominant force in world football.
Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia plunged into battle in Russia, but were all sent back home at the group stages with only Senegal and Tunisia led by native coaches.
Having played at two Fifa World Cups himself, Mboma has called for homegrown solutions, starting with pro domestic leagues developing local coaches.
“Yes, football has to be professionalised in Africa. The question is not new,” Mboma told SoFoot.
“Out of North Africa and Southern Africa, there is a lot to do to improve the local leagues, structures, training of young people, coaches, and so forth. But I recall that in Russia most of the coaches were mainly overseas or European. I hope some federations will work better and better in the future, so that the African football level will improve.”
The former African Footballer of the Year is upset at the failure by African teams to beat the World Cup quarter-final benchmark set by Cameroon in 1990, Senegal (2002) and Ghana at the 2010 tournament hosted by South Africa.
“This is the imbalance that frustrates me. Five teams qualified, no one in the final eight, we are going wrong. Obviously, I did not expect all of them to cross past the first round. I hoped for two or even three teams to go through,” Mboma said.
Most African teams conceded goals through set-pieces and also succumbed right at the death in injury time.
“Goals often conceded in the last few minutes... I explain this as the effects of fatigue, lack of concentration. Fatigue at the end of the game is the same for everyone. We have to admit that the concentration levels is a problem for African teams," said Mboma.
Mboma’s Cameroon failed to qualify for the World Cup, as Nigeria denied them a ticket to Russia.