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The Sacking Cycle



The end of a World Cup also signals the start of a new cycle for football associations around the globe, who tend to do their planning in four-year blocks.

It usually heralds a time of change for many sides, both on the playing field as some veteran stars choose to hang up their boots having had one last shot at glory, and in the dugout.

Some exits are inevitable – there was simply no way that Luiz Felipe Scolari could stay on as Brazil coach after the manner in which the host nation ended their tournament – while others may come as more of a surprise.

Football associations want to give themselves as long as possible to plan for the next World Cup, first for the qualifiers and then hopefully the finals, so it is sensible to make changes immediately after a tournament.

But, it is not only the men in suits that make the decisions. Sometimes the coach decides to step down, either because he feels he has taken the side as far as he can, or is after a different challenge having achieved the pinnacle of leading a side at the World Cup.

It also depends at which point the squad is in its development. A team can have many aging stars and the current coach, maybe more used to working with experienced players, might not be the best person to rejuvenate it.

At the other end of the scale, you have a side like England. The country’s first round exit in Brazil would normally be considered a disaster for the proud footballing nation who expects to be vying for ultimate footballing glory.

But, the current England team is very young and is building towards the 2018 tournament in Russia. With this in mind, the coach, Roy Hodgson, has been allowed to continue his work despite their embarrassing early flight home.

The English FA believe, despite the insipid performances in Brazil, that Hodgson is the best person to help nurture and develop this team into what they hope will be a force in Russia and perhaps Qatar in 2022 as well.

Football associations do sometimes bow to public pressure. When a coach has lost the faith of the fans, they will act.

But they should also understand that football teams are often a work in progress and a coach should be given the opportunity to finish what he has started, unless results are so bad that it is clear he is taking the team along the wrong path.

There are many factors to consider and they involve the players at his disposal, such as how the coach interacts with his players, do they respond to him and do his ideas suit the players in his squad.

National associations don’t sack coaches because they didn’t win the World Cup, I think they do it because they feel something is not working within the team.

Football can be cruel and a team’s failure to win can sometimes be out of the coach’s hands. This happened to Louis van Gaal when Netherlands were ousted on penalties in the semifinals.

He was always destined to leave his post after this tournament; that was already decided by the Dutch FA last year. I doubt there is anybody who blames Van Gaal for the team’s failure to lift the trophy.

So as things change around the world, in Africa it is no different. It is remarkable how swiftly the landscape changes in just a matter of weeks. Of the five African teams that participated at the World Cup, two already have new coaches.

Christian Gourcuff had been waiting in the wings at Algeria, even before Brazil. It was obvious that Vahid Halilhodzic wanted out and would not be persuaded to stay on.

Not even a presidential appeal for him to stay could sway Halilhodzic, who rapidly progressed from being the object of media scorn to a national hero by taking Algeria past the first round for the first time, and ensuring a honorable World Cup exit as they took eventual champions Germany to extra time.

Gourcuff’s appointment will further strengthen French ties with the Algerians.

Herve Renard, another Frenchman and a man I know well, is the new coach of Ivory Coast. He was swiftly chosen from a five-man shortlist after the Ivorian Football Federation had made the unusual step of publicly calling for candidates to replace Sabri Lamouchi.

Lamouchi’s tenure with the Ivorian team was always going to be in doubt after the World Cup, even if they had not been so unlucky and gone on to play in the second round. His relationship with influential players like Didier Drogba was fractured.

Renard was the coach of Zambia when they edged the Ivorians to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations title in Gabon, a tournament in which the Mighty Elephants did not concede a single goal and yet did not pick up the trophy. There lies the problem for any coach. You can have the best plans, but you still rely on the players to execute.

While I am delighted for Renard, his appointment did come at a cost to Zambia. The country’s coach, Patrice Beaumelle, who was Renard’s assistant when he was in charge of Chipolopolo, left to join his old boss in West Africa. It is disappointing, but it offers an opportunity for someone else to step in and make their mark.

In the month since the World Cup final, there have also been coaching changes for Gabon, Niger, South Africa, Kenya and Togo.

Despite their very disappointing showing in Brazil, Cameroon have stuck with German coach Volker Finke, although he has been under fire in the country. He is insisting he sees out his contract, which still has nine months to run.

It means there will be little time for the new men in charge to prepare, as the qualification matches for the 2015 African Cup of Nations begin on September 5.

When you are a coach, the pressure never lets up.

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30 under 30

Applications Open for FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 class of 2020



FORBES AFRICA is on the hunt for Africans under the age of 30, who are building brands, creating jobs and transforming the continent, to join our Under 30 community for 2020.

JOHANNESBURG, 07 January 2020: Attention entrepreneurs, creatives, sport stars and technology geeks — the 2020 FORBES AFRICA Under 30 nominations are now officially open.

The FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list is the most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, we are on the hunt for 30 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 spanning these categories: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.

Each year, FORBES AFRICA looks for resilient self-starters, innovators, entrepreneurs and disruptors who have the acumen to stay the course in their chosen field, come what may.

Past honorees include Sho Madjozi, Bruce Diale, Karabo Poppy, Kwesta, Nomzamo Mbatha, Burna Boy, Nthabiseng Mosia, Busi Mkhumbuzi Pooe, Henrich Akomolafe, Davido, Yemi Alade, Vere Shaba, Nasty C and WizKid.

What’s different this year is that we have whittled down the list to just 30 finalists, making the competition stiff and the vetting process even more rigorous. 

Says FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil: “The start of a new decade means the unraveling of fresh talent on the African continent. I can’t wait to see the potential billionaires who will land up on our desks. Our coveted sixth annual Under 30 list will herald some of the decade’s biggest names in business and life.”

If you think you have what it takes to be on this year’s list or know an entrepreneur, creative, technology entrepreneur or sports star under 30 with a proven track-record on the continent – introduce them to FORBES AFRICA by applying or submitting your nomination.


Business and Technology categories

  1. Must be an entrepreneur/founder aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Should have a legitimate REGISTERED business on the continent
  3. Business/businesses should be two years or older
  4. Nominees must have risked own money and have a social impact
  5. Must be profit generating
  6. Must employ people in Africa
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Sports category

  1. Must be a sports person aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be representing an African team
  3. Should have a proven track record of no less than two years
  4. Should be making significant earnings
  5. Should have some endorsement deals
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Creatives category

  1. Must be a creative aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be from or based in Africa
  3. Should be making significant earnings
  4. Should have a proven creative record of no less than two years
  5. Must have social influence
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Your entry should include:

  • Country
  • Full Names
  • Company name/Team you are applying with
  • A short motivation on why you should be on the list
  • A short profile on self and company
  • Links to published material / news clippings about nominee
  • All social media handles
  • Contact information
  • High-res images of yourself

Applications and nominations must be sent via email to FORBES AFRICA journalist and curator of the list, Karen Mwendera, on [email protected]

Nominations close on 3 February 2020.

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The Springboks And The Cup Of Good Hope



After their epic win beating England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan on November 2, the Springboks returned home to South Africa, undertaking a nation-wide tour, in an open-top bus, holding high the Webb Ellis Cup. In this image, in the township of Soweto, they pass the iconic Vilakazi Street with throngs of screaming, cheering residents and Springbok fans lining the street. The sport united the racially-divided country. For the third time in history, the South African national rugby team was crowned world champions.

Image by Motlabana Monnakgotla

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Déjà vu: South Africa Back to Winning

Our Publisher reflects on the recent Springbok victory in Yokohoma, Japan



Rugby World Cup 2019, Final: England v South Africa Mtach viewing at Nelson Mandela Square

By Rakesh Wahi, Publisher

Rugby is as foreign to me as cricket is to the average American. However, having lived in South Africa for 15 years, there is no way to avoid being pulled into the sport. November 2, 2019, is therefore a date that will be celebrated in South Africa’s sporting posterity. In many ways, it’s déjà vu for South Africans; at a pivotal time in history, on June 24, 1995, the Springboks beat the All Blacks (the national rugby team of New Zealand) in the final of the World Cup. The game united a racially-divided country coming out of apartheid and at the forefront of this victory was none other than President Nelson Mandela or our beloved Madiba. In a very symbolic coincidence, 24 years later, history repeated itself.

South Africans watched with pride as Siya Kolisi lifted the gold trophy in Yokohama, Japan, as had Francois Pienaar done so 24 years ago in Johannesburg. My mind immediately reflected on this extremely opportune event in South Africa’s history.

The last decade has not been easy; the country has slipped into economic doldrums from which there seems to be no clear path ahead. The political transition from the previously corrupt regime has not been easy and it has been disheartening to see a rapid deterioration in the economic condition of the country. The sad reality is that there literally seems to be no apparent light at the end of the tunnel; with blackouts and load-shedding, a currency that is amongst the most volatile in the world, rising unemployment and rising crime amongst many other issues facing the country.

Rakesh Wahi, Publisher Forbes Africa

Something needed to change. There was a need for an event to change this despondent state of mind and the South African rugby team seems to have given a glimmer of hope that could not have come at a more opportune time. As South African flags were flying all over the world on November 2, something clicked to say that there is hope ahead and if people come together under a common mission, they can be the change that they want to see.

Isn’t life all about hope? Nothing defies gravity and just goes up; Newton taught us that everything that goes up will come down. Vicissitudes are a part of life and the true character of people, society or a nation is tested on how they navigate past these curve balls that make us despair. As we head into 2020, it is my sincere prayer that we see a new dawn and a better future in South Africa with renewed vigor and vitality.

Talking about sports and sportsmen, there is another important lesson that we need to take away. Having been a sportsman all my life, I have had a belief that people who have played team sports like cricket, rugby, soccer, hockey etc make great team players and leaders. However, other sports like golf, diving and squash teach you focus. In all cases, the greatest attribute of all is how to reset your mind after adversity. While most of us moved on after amateur sports to find our place in the world, the real sportspeople to watch and learn from are professionals. It is their grit and determination.

My own belief is that one must learn how to detach from a rear view mirror. You cannot ignore what is behind you because that is your history; you must learn from it. Our experiences are unique and so is our history. It must be our greatest teacher. However, that’s where it must end. As humans, we must learn to break the proverbial rear view mirror and stop worrying about the past. You cannot change what is behind you but you can influence and change what is yet to come.

I had the good fortune of playing golf with Chester Williams (former rugby player who was the first person of color to play for the Springboks in the historic win in 1995 and sadly passed away in September 2019) more than once at the SuperSport Celebrity Golf Shootout.

Chester played his golf fearlessly; perhaps the way he led his life. He would drive the ball 300 meters and on occasion went into the woods or in deep rough. Psychologically, as golfers know, this sets you back just looking at a bad lie, an embedded or unplayable ball or a dropped shot in a hazard. For a seasoned golfer, it is not the shot that you have hit but the one that you are about to hit. Chester has a repertoire of recovery shots and always seemed to be in the game even after some wayward moments. There is a profound lesson in all of this. You have to blank your mind from the negativity or sometimes helplessness and bring a can do and positive frame of reference back into your game (and life). Hit that recovery shot well and get back in the game; that’s what champions do.

We need to now focus our attention on the next shot and try and change the future than stay in the past.

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