The ‘Mourinho of Africa’ – Burkino Faso coach Paulo Duarte
Posted: 3 August 2011 Time: 10:13
Bafana Bafana should be cautious of Burkino Faso, who they play in a friendly soon – their coach is known as 'Mourinho of Africa'.
They call him the 'Mourinho of Africa', a little known Portuguese coach who has lifted Burkina Faso's Stallions from obscurity to 37th in Fifa rankings in just three years.
But despite this tremendous success, Paulo Duarte reveals he is not a happy man, as he has been battling against poor administration and a lack of financial resources.
Duarte reveals that Burkina Faso jumped at the chance when Safa invited them to play against Bafana Bafana on August 10, saying that the R700 000 plus all expenses-paid trip was too good to pass over.
The Portuguese mentor adds that all the cash will go into the Federation’s coffers and that he does not even know whether the players will get anything for their efforts.
Speaking about the Bafana match, Duarte says although he has not yet called up his squad, he believes they are ready for the encounter.
"They have resumed training with their clubs. I am often in contact with them. Everyone knows it’s a big game ahead of us, although it is friendly."
Duarte is hero-worshipped by the Burkinabe fans but he has come under severe criticism from the hierarchy and press for spending on average 10 days a month back in his homeland in the past.
But he does not take the gloves off and explains that when he took over the reins three years ago, he had absolutely nothing to work on.
"There were no documents or DVDs stored on the Stallions or their past opponents. I could not even establish whether the national team used a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 system so that I could continue where my predecessor had left off. Worse yet was that there was no information on the players selected before I took office.
"I was left wondering whether the Stallions actually existed. My predecessors left nothing; the FA leaders did nothing either; no organisation or archives. There was no sense of professionalism.
"That is why I had to go back to Portugal to dig up the information that I required."
Administration bungling at top level could yet bring Burkinabe fans dreams crashing down. Apart from 1998 when they finished fourth, the Stallions have never progressed beyond the first round of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Now they are top of the three-team Group F in the current competition – but that is in jeopardy now too, as Namibia have lodged a complaint that the Stallions fielded an improperly registered player, Herve Zengue, who the coach had brought in from Europe, in two of their matches.
Duarte says 27-year-old Zengue, who plays for Terek Grozny in Chechnya, is eligible to play because he is married to a Burkinabe woman but adds he is in the dark as to whether the FA did the paperwork correctly.
He says that Burkina Faso Cadets' failure at the recent youth World Cup was also due to an administration blunder relating to valid birth certificates and availability of passports to three key players.
CAF are set to rule on the Namibia protest during September.
Talking about his success with the Stallions, Duarte says African countries often make the mistake of appointing "experienced" coaches and that they seem to mistake this length of service for quality.
"But they are two different things. Not all coaches follow the evolution of modern football. Today's training methods are not the same as yesterday. Today’s players are obliged to be intelligent and know what a coach expects of them.
"A number of coaches in African countries did not evolve in the modern game and are unable to solve problems. They don't go onto the Internet to check on their overseas players and see how much playing time they have had at their clubs."