Top 10 Best African Soccer Coaches Of All Time

According to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the past few decades have seen a rise in the influence of African coaches.

African football wouldn’t be the same without its iconic coaches if you ask me. These are the men who’ve guided teams to glory, instilled winning mentalities, and delivered spectacular football.

However, this guide lists the 10 greatest African soccer coaches who have shaped the game both on and off the field. And, you will learn about their achievements and impact on the game.

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Who Are The Top 10 Best African Soccer Coaches Of All Time?

1. Charles Kumi Gyamfi

Charles Kumi Gyamfi

Charles Kumi Gyamfi, a Ghanaian footballer and coach, is among the top 10 best African soccer coaches of all time. He was born on December 4, 1929, and passed away on September 2, 2015.

Gyamfi made history, becoming the first African to play in Germany when he joined Fortuna Düsseldorf in 1960. He later achieved another milestone, becoming the first coach to lead the Ghana national football team to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations.

During his coaching career, Gyamfi guided Ghana to success in the African Cup of Nations three times, in 1963, 1965, and 1982.

This impressive feat makes him the most successful coach in the competition’s history. He also led the Ghanaian national team during their Olympic debut at the 1964 Summer Olympics and returned to coach the Olympic team for the 1972 tournament.

In addition, Gyamfi was a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group for the 1999 and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

2. Hassan Shehata

Hassan Shehata

Hassan Shehata is one of Africa’s top soccer coaches. He started his coaching career with stints at different Egyptian clubs, including El Sharkia SC, El Minya SC, and Suez SC.

In 2003, he led the Egypt national under-20 football team to victory in the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations and guided them to the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Shehata’s coaching skill became clear when he took the helm at Al Mokawloon Al Arab SC, securing the 2004 Egypt Cup and the 2004 Egyptian Super Cup by defeating powerhouses Al Ahly and Zamalek in the finals.

His success caught the eye of the Egyptian Football Association, leading to his appointment as the national team coach in 2004.

Under his leadership, Egypt experienced a resurgence in African football. In 2006, he guided the team to victory in the African Cup of Nations, ending an eight-year drought.

Despite a publicized dispute with player Mido during the tournament, Shehata’s tactical understanding succeeded. Shehata won three consecutive African Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008, and 2010, a feat unmatched in African football history.

His achievements pushed Egypt to new heights, earning them a spot among the top ten in the FIFA World Rankings. Recognition followed his success, with Shehata receiving accolades such as the CAF Coach of the Year in 2008 and being named the Best African Coach by FFHSI in 2010.

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3. Pitso Mosimane

Pitso Mosimane

Pitso Mosimane, born in South Africa, is widely recognized as one of Africa’s top soccer coaches. He started as an assistant to the under-11 players at Belgium’s KFC Rita Berlaar before returning to his homeland to coach Mamelodi Sundowns reserves.

Mosimane’s career took flight at Supersport United, serving as both an assistant and head coach while achieving notable success in the Premier Soccer League.

His influence expanded to the South African national team, where he initially served as a caretaker coach before assuming the role of head coach.

Mosimane’s time saw significant victories, including a memorable triumph over Ghana. However, challenges emerged, the team’s failure to qualify for the African Cup of Nations due to strategic errors.

One of Mosimane’s best achievements was with Mamelodi Sundowns, securing the CAF Champions League title in 2016.

Moving to Al Ahly, Mosimane continued his winning streak, guiding the team to multiple CAF Champions League victories and other titles.

Despite his great accomplishments, Mosimane’s coaching career led him to various clubs, including Al-Ahli Jeddah, Al Wahda, and most recently, Abha.

4. Cecil Jones Attuquayefio

Cecil Jones Attuquayefio

The top 10 best African soccer coaches of all time list include Cecil Jones Attuquayefio. Attuquayefio was a skilled coach who achieved success with different teams.

He managed the Benin national team, leading them to the 2004 African Nations Cup. Also guided Hearts of Oak to victory in the 2000 African Champions League and the 2004 CAF Confederation Cup.

Attuquayefio even had the honor of coaching Ghana’s national team. In 2008–09, Attuquayefio coached Liberty Professionals F.C. and won the Coach of the Century.

His excellent coaching abilities were recognized when he was named African Coach of the Year in 2000. This award came after his team, Accra Hearts of Oak, won the African Champions League with just one loss throughout the entire tournament.

Unfortunately, in 2015, Jones Attuquayefio passed away due to throat cancer, but his legacy as one of Africa’s finest soccer coaches lives on.

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5. Gordon Igesund

Gordon Igesund

Gordon Igesund is famous for his outstanding achievements in South African football. Igesund made history by coaching four different top-flight teams to the Premier Soccer League championship.

His coaching career began with Manning Rangers and led the team to their first PSL title in the 1996/97 season. He continued his success at Orlando Pirates, winning another championship in the 2000/01 season.

Surprisingly, he guided Cape Town’s Santos to a PSL title in the 2001/02 season. He also had some time at Ajax Cape Town, although it wasn’t as fruitful.

However, his spell at Sundowns saw him add another PSL title to his name in 2007. Plus more success at Moroka Swallows, securing second place in the 2011/12 season and winning the PSL Coach of the Season award for the second time.

Igesund then took on the role of the South Africa national team coach in 2012. Even after parting ways with the national team, Igesund continued to contribute to South African football, guiding SuperSport United to the Telkom Knockout title in 2014.

6. Abdelmajid Chetali

Abdelmajid Chetali

Abdelmajid Chetali is among the top African soccer coaches of all time. He made a mark with Étoile du Sahel in the late 1960s and early 1970s, winning several titles including the Tunisian League and Maghreb Champions Cup.

His coaching skills led to his appointment as the national team coach in 1975. Under his guidance, Tunisia qualified for the 1978 FIFA World Cup.

Chetali’s team secured a memorable victory against Mexico, becoming the first African team to win a match in the tournament.

Despite this achievement, they couldn’t advance past the group stage. Chetali’s coaching career wasn’t without controversies.

His unsportsmanlike behavior during the 1978 African Cup of Nations led to a two-year exclusion from the tournament.

However, his contribution to African football was undeniable. Even after stepping away from coaching, Chetali’s legacy endured.

In 1988, he briefly coached the Bahrain national football team, reaching the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup of Nations. He later returned to Étoile du Sahel in 2004, guiding them to a second-place finish in the CAF Champions League.

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7. Jomo Sono

Jomo Sono

Jomo Sono is one of the best African football managers. After his playing days in the USA, Sono returned to South Africa and made waves as a coach and club owner.

In 1982, he bought Highlands Park, turning it into Jomo Cosmos. Under his leadership, the club won league titles and cups.

But it wasn’t just about trophies for Sono. He had an eye for talent, especially from rural areas, nurturing players who would go on to represent South Africa and European clubs.

His recruits formed the backbone of the 1996 African Nations Cup-winning squad. In 1998, he took charge as caretaker coach and guided Bafana Bafana to the African Nations Cup final.

Again in 2002, Sono answered the call, this time for the FIFA World Cup. Though the team didn’t advance far, they showed promise under his guidance. Sono’s the longest-serving coach in the South African Premier League.

8. Stephen Keshi

Stephen Keshi

Stephen Keshi is one of the top African soccer coaches in history. He played for the Nigerian national team and also coached them.

Keshi was part of the Sacramento Scorpions in California, playing alongside Augustine Eguavoen. Later, he coached different national teams, including Togo and Mali.

Keshi’s recorded his most significant achievement when he coached Nigeria’s national team. In 2013, he led them to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, beating Burkina Faso in the final.

He also qualified Nigeria for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a rare feat for an African coach. Despite some challenges during the tournament, Nigeria made it to the knockout stage.

However, Keshi faced criticism and controversy during his coaching career. After Nigeria’s exit from the World Cup, his contract wasn’t renewed by the Nigeria Football Federation. They cited reasons like a lack of commitment to the federation’s objectives.

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9. Rabah Saâdane

Rabah Saâdane

Rabah Saâdane started as an assistant coach for Algeria’s under-20 team in 1978 and his first major tournament was the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Then he subsequently led Raja Casablanca and won the 1989 African Cup of Champions Clubs. Saâdane’s career also took him to Étoile Sportive du Sahel, Yemen, and ES Sétif.

But in 2010, after a draw against Tanzania, he resigned as Algeria’s coach. He had guided them to the semi-finals of the 2010 African Cup of Nations and the 2010 World Cup, ending a 24-year wait.

After leaving Algeria, Saâdane was set to manage Yemen’s national team, but financial issues led to a change of plans.

10. Mahmoud El-Gohary

Mahmoud El-Gohary

After Mahmoud El-Gohary retired from his football career, he started coaching with Al Ahly, before he moved to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia as an assistant manager.

When the head coach left, El-Gohary led the team to win their first Saudi Premier League title. Back at Al Ahly, he secured African League titles and cups.

With Zamalek, he bagged the African Super Cup. El-Gohary’s greatest feat was leading Egypt to the World Cup in 1990 after 56 years.

He also worked wonders with the Jordanian national team, guiding them to their highest FIFA ranking and their first AFC Asian Cup appearance.

Though they didn’t make it to the semifinals, Jordan did well under his guidance. He also helped Jordan secure third place in the West Asian Football Federation Championships of 2004 and 2007.

Even after retiring, El-Gohary continued contributing to football as a technical advisor for the Jordan Football Association.

He played a key role in making the Jordanian Football League professional and set up football academies for youth, which were named after Prince Ali.