Black Team Managers Missing From the World Cup

  • Senegal has the only black team manager/coach
  • At least 25% of professional footballers in England are black

There are 32 nations taking part in the tournament this year and only one black team manager. Aliou Cissé, Senegal’s manager helped his team to an early win beating Poland 2-1 and a draw with Japan. Why does this international sport not have better representation among managers?

Why This Matters: Black managers are a rare sight in World Cups. During the 1998 World Cup in France, there was an increase in the number of teams from African nations from three to five spots. Since then only seven black professionals have had a chance to lead a campaign. Three of the other African nations at this year’s World Cup have foreign coaches who are white.

The Football Against Racism in Europe network released a study in 2014, depicting the plight of black people in leadership roles. They found across organizations in England, France and the Netherlands, only three percent of black professionals held coaching jobs. “In European countries, in major clubs, you see lots of African players. Now we need African coaches for our continent to go ahead,” said Cissé said during a World Cup press conference.

It’s not just the major international soccer competitions where black leadership is lacking. If we look at club soccer in England, the 2017-18 season only had three black managers, according to The Sports People’s Think Tank. They are severely underrepresented compared to the 25% of professional black soccer players in England. In the top-tier Premier League, Brighton’s Chris Hughton was the only black manager to last a full season.

Situational Awareness: The manager is the face of the team, interacting with the public and media. In such an international setting it would make sense to have leadership that’s more reflective of the players and legions of fans watching the sport.

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