• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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AFCON: Here are 6 coaches who lost their jobs in group stage matches


The group stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast ended on Wednesday paving the way for thrilling Round of 16 clashes.

The 2023 AFCON has already provided many talking points with unpredictable outcomes to games; the group stage fixtures ended with some managers losing their jobs after their team failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.

With so many coaches losing their position as head coach, the 2023 AFCON has seen an unprecedented with the number of coaches being sacked.

Ghana’s Chris Hughton, Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi, Tanzania’s Adel Amrouche and Jean-Louis Gasset from hosts Ivory Coast have all also been relieved of their duties. Gambia’s Tom Saintfiet resigned after his side’s group stage exit. Kadri is the sixth coaching casualty at the Africa Cup of Nations filled with shocks.

As the tournament enters a crucial knockout stage, here BusinessDay highlights six coaches who lost their jobs during the group stage of the 2023 AFCON.

Adel Amrouche

The Tanzanian Football Association was the first to announce the sacking of the team’s head coach who had received an 8-match ban from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) following his shocking comments about Morocco at the 2023 AFCON.

CAF disciplinary committee had earlier suspended Amrouche for eight matches and fined him $10,000.over offensive remarks about Morocco.

The sanction was imposed after officials from the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF) contacted the CAF to complain about remarks made by Amrouche.

Jean-Louis Gasset


Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) sacked coach Jean-Louis Gasset after the Elephants suffered a 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea in their last Group A match at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Ivory Coast finished third in Group A with three points from three group games and booked its place for the knockout stage as one of the best four third-placed teams.

It was the heaviest home defeat in Ivory Coast’s history but they still have a chance of qualifying for the Round of 16 in the tournament.

Emerse Fae, one of Gasset’s coaches, on an interim basis.

Chris Hughton

Ghana Football Association (GFA) also sacked Chris Hughton after the Black Stars were eliminated from the group stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

The Black Stars of Ghana had a disappointing 2023 AFCON campaign after failing to win any of their three games in the group stages.

The Black Stars finished third in Group B with two points, after playing 2-2 with both Egypt and Mozambique and lost to Cape Verde 2-1 2-1 in their opening match.

Hughton took over as head coach in 2023 and led the team to their first competitive stage at AFCON. Unfortunately, Ghana had one of their worst campaigns in AFCON 2023, which was disappointing considering the rich history of the Black Stars.

Tom Saintfiet

The head coach of the Gambia national team Tom Saintfiet resigned from his position after the Scorpions suffered a group-stage exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

The Gambia opened their 2023 AFCON campaign with a 3-0 defeat to defending champions Senegal and then fell to a 1-0 loss against fellow West Africans Guinea.

The 50-year-old Belgian coach announced his decision after the Gambia’s 3-2 loss to Cameroon in their final game in Group C, a defeat that left his team bottom of Group C with no points despite all the excitement it brought to the tournament.

Saintfiet, who has coached a host of African national teams, has been in charge of the Gambia team since 2018. He led the Gambia, which is surrounded by Senegal on the west coast of Africa, to its first-ever Africa Cup qualification in 2021. His team reached the quarterfinals of that tournament.

“Thank you for your service, gaffer. Gambia will indeed miss a great tactician,” the Gambia Football Federation said in a message posted on X.

Djamel Belmadi

Algeria Football Federation sacked coach Djamel Belmadi after the two-time winners crashed out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Their shock 1-0 loss to Mauritania meant the 2019 winners finished bottom of Group D.

Algeria were also knocked out of the 2021 finals at the group stage.

“I met with Djamel and we reached an amicable agreement to dissolve the association,” Walid Sadi, president of Algeria’s football federation, said.

“We thank Djamel for everything he did for the team and wish him good luck in the rest of his career.”

Belmadi, 47, took over as coach of the Desert Foxes in August 2018 and signed a contract extension a year ago to remain in the post until 2026.

Jalel Kadri

Jalel Kadri left his role as coach of Tunisia after the side’s surprise early exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast, having finished bottom of Group E with just two points.

Kadri, who led Tunisia to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where they defeated France, announced his resignation in a post-match television interview following Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with South Africa that confirmed their elimination from the 2023 AFCON.

“My mission at the head of the Tunisian national team is now over,” he said after Tunisia finished bottom of their pool with two points from three games following a stunning opening loss to Namibia and a draw with Mali.