Radhi Jaidi: Esperance unveil former Southampton star as manager

Radhi Jaidi Southampton U-23
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The Tunisian football great has been appointed as handler of the Stade Olympique de Rades giants

Esperance have announced the appointment of former Southampton and Bolton Wanderers star Radhi Jaidhi as their new coach.

The Blood and Gold had parted ways with coach Mouine Chaabani after his team crumbled 4-0 on aggregate to Al Ahly in the semi-final of the 2020-21 Caf Champions League.

In their attempt to bounce back, the Ligue Professionnelle 1 side turned to their former player who was assistant manager of Belgium elite division side Cercle Brugge.

Jaidhi was unveiled to the media on Monday during a press conference organised at the Hotel du Parc.

Although Esperance have won the Tunisia top-flight diadem back to back in the last five seasons, they would be banking on the country’s football great to lead them to continental success.

They won the Caf Champions League in 2019 when they silenced Wydad Casablanca over two legs to win the African club competition for the fourth time in their history.

Jaidi, 45, recently received his Uefa Pro Licence which is required for anyone who is keen on managing a football club in the top-tier of any European nation's league system on a permanent basis.

After representing Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City the former defender signed for Southampton where he represented them between 2009 and 2012 before taking up a managerial role in the Saints’ U23s five years later.

He moved on to the United Soccer League where he was named as Hartford Athletic head coach in November 2019.

In February 2021, he was named as an assistant coach at Belgian First Division A side Cercle Brugge.

In his maiden season, he helped the Green and Black maintain their Belgian First Division A status after they finished 16th in the 18-team league.

Despite his appointment as Esperance’s boss, his ultimate ambition is to become the first Tunisian and first-ever African-born manager in the English top-flight.

"I notice so many people from former clubs Bolton, Southampton and Birmingham fans, still think I am still playing!” Jaidi told Hampshire Live.

"I am so committed to my coaching that I do not communicate enough outside, to let people know that I am a coach now.

"I was the first Tunisian to play in the Premier League and the first Tunisian to win a trophy as a coach in England.

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“I am very hungry to achieve more, I want to be one of the first Tunisians to take in a senior team at the top level as a head coach.

"The dream is the Premier League, but there are so many challenges, challenges like unconscious bias and there is so much competition.

"I still believe in my ability as a coach and I've shown so many strong performances since being a coach at Southampton."