Magazine article New African

Plotting the Right Trajectory: Despite Managing Mazembe to the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup Final, Lamine Ndiaye, Their Senegalese Coach, Insists His Side Still Has a Steep Mountain to Climb

Magazine article New African

Plotting the Right Trajectory: Despite Managing Mazembe to the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup Final, Lamine Ndiaye, Their Senegalese Coach, Insists His Side Still Has a Steep Mountain to Climb

Article excerpt

MANAGING COTONSPORT GAROUA TO several Cameroonian league titles, as well as a spell in international management with Senegal, his home country, and French second division side Mulhouse, before he took charge of Les Corbeaux, 55 year old Lamine Ndiaye has the arduous task of forging TP Mazembe into a solid, dependable unit.

Even with a 2010 CAF Champions League title in his kitty, as well as a runners-up medal from the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, Ndiaye admits the tough demands of the job have often put him on a collision course with those who continually question the competence of African coaches. But the former France Ligue One player, in this exclusive interview with African Football, comments, frankly, on the African game and offers his vision for Mazembe, insisting his club will remain a formidable force ...

Osasu Obayiuwana: Most African club owners with big ambitions opt for non-African managers. Were you surprised when Mazembe made you an offer? How did you get the job?

Lamine Ndiaye: Well, I was approached by Roland Scheubel (a French consultant of Mazembe) and Salomon Kalonda, who is the right-hand man of Mr Katumbi.

I have to admit that I was initially reluctant, because African coaches are often not taken very seriously.

But we met at Arsene Wenger's place, and I was invited to watch the 2010 CAF Champions League group match between Mazembe and Esperance Tunis in Lubumbashi. I came, very anonymously, so I could see things for myself, after which I had a discussion with Mr Katumbi. I said, after he told me that he would like me to work for him, that I'd rather prefer to work in a consulting, advisory capacity.

Diego Garzitto, a French coach, was in charge and I did not want to be imposed on the team.

But after that meeting, Mazembe lost 3-0 to Esperance in their return Champions League match and I subsequently took over as coach on the 1st of September 2010, which makes it just over two years I have been in charge ...

OO: Why do you think African coaches are not respected within the continent? (Editor's note--Ndiaye also worked as one of the French Football Federation Technical Directors, in charge of the Alsace-Lorraine region).

Lamine Ndiaye: It is the colonial mentality, the inferiority complex in many African club owners, who have a distinct lack of trust in their own people. Even here, in spite of what I have achieved, I still feel some people question my competence, because I am an African coach. I feel that ...

OO: Really? You felt disrespected?

Lamine Ndiaye: Certainly. Especially when we have a spell of bad results. They forgot the mistakes made by the French coach that was here before me. But fortunately, I retain the confidence of Mr Katumbi, the chairman, who has never failed to support me, despite the criticism from some quarters. If he had succumbed to public opinion, I would have been fired a long time ago.

OO: How does the stressful job of coaching a top team impact on your mental health?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Lamine Ndiaye: Dealing with stress is what comes with this job. When the team wins, it's the players victory but when it loses, it is the coach's fault (he smiles). It is only one's passion for the game that keeps one going in difficult moments. Pressure will always be there and I enjoy it.

OO: You enjoy the pressure of this job? …

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