Paris - There is not one black coach in the top leagues of
Europe's five major championships and footballers are just as bitter as black
actors in Hollywood.
"We can play but not lead, maybe the black man is only
made to execute," Florent Ibenge, the Democratic Republic of Congo coach,
"You have got to ask the owners. People are there,
trained, but no one trusts them."
"The European clubs hardly give us a chance and they do
not believe in us," added Samson Siasia, who was named Nigeria's interim
coach last week.
"Many of us have not only played at the highest level
in Europe, but have excelled. Yet even when we get our coaching badges there,
these clubs still don't give us the break we need to show what we can do
outside the pitch."
There is no black coach in the English Premier League and
only Jimmy Hasselbaink at Queen's Park Rangers in the second level
No black manager runs a French Ligue 1 team and only former
Paris Saint-Germain boss Antoine Kombouare is at Lens in the second division.
There have been none in Italy since AC Milan sacked Clarence Seedorf in 2014
after just five months in the post. There are no black coaches in Germany's
"It becomes obvious why you're not being picked,"
Chris Ramsey, who for a while was head coach at Queen's Park Rangers in the
Premier League, told the Leaders in Sport conference in London in October when
describing his battle to get work.
"It's been a long journey and it's been very difficult.
"You have to keep going and make sure you don't put
your head down. Sometimes it's about embarrassing people by showing it's
obvious they're not picking you for obvious reasons."
Also read: Siasia calls up Awoniyi, Osimhen for Brazil friendly
- John Barnes syndrome -
Is it discrimination, or training? "Something is really
not right, but I don't want to put any name to it," said Siasia, who
played for Nantes in France and Lokeren in Belgium before becoming a coach.
"Where is John Barnes with all he achieved at Liverpool
and even though he grew up in England? He was not given much of a chance there
as a coach."
England's Professional Footballers Association has called for
a version of the NFL's Rooney Rule to be introduced in the Premier League.
The rule introduced in 2003 forces American football clubs
to interview ethnic minority candidates when a vacancy is posted.
The Premier League has indicated it is not going to
introduce the rule yet but lower division clubs are going to start a pilot
Former England striker Les Ferdinand pointed out that
Premier League clubs rarely hold interviews for jobs anyway. "Normally
they have identified the next man they want."
The lack of opportunities fuels a vicious circle where black
players -- who are still well represented as television pundits -- are put off
trying to be a coach.
"A black player is going to say 'is it worth passing
all the diplomas if no one is going to give me a job'," said French
sociologist Pascal Boniface who wrote a book with Pape Diouf, a black who was
president of Olympique Marseille.
"Many of us have good records as players and then
coaches, but because the European clubs do not believe in us, we end up having
to do something else," added Siasia.
"And even when they give us a chance, they are quick to
dispense of us."
Many African teams appear to prefer European coaches as well
and this also hurts their players. Frenchman Herve Renard has just been named
Morocco's coach having won the Cup of African Nations with Ivory Coast and
Ibenge said African federations should put more resources
into training black coaches.
"We Africans ask that our leaders no longer put up
discriminatory criteria such as race or nationality," said Ibenge.For
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