The quarterfinals of the 2016 CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) will most likely re-ignite the debate on home-grown national team coaches at the tournament exclusively for domestic league players.
Four local coaches will come up against their foreign counterparts in the last eight round at the CHAN tournament that enters the knockout phase this weekend.
The CHAN, that began in 2009, is a unique initiative by CAF to showcase fringe home-based players who were rapidly being edge out of contention from their national teams for the premier Africa Cup by their foreign-based counterparts.
This weekend, the local coaches still standing too go on trial again to see which ones can still match-up to some of the ‘elite coaches’ at the the crucial knockout round of the CHAN.
On Saturday, DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge will face the young Englishman Johnny Mckinstry of Rwanda.
Ibenge comes into his first CHAN tournament after leading DRC to their first AFCON knockout appearance in over ten years when they finished third in Equatorial Guinea in 2015.
He is also coach at AS Vita of Kinshasa whom he led to a runners-up finish in the 2014 CAF Champions League.
In the second kickoff on Saturday, Cameroon’s Alexandre Belinga will face Frenchman Henri Dussuyer who has previously coached Benin and Guinea.
On Sunday, the legendary and much-travelled Henryk Kasperczak will face Mali’s Djibril Drame.
Drame will cross swords with a coach of great pedigree in the Polish-born coach who is a 1974 World Cup bronze medalist as player.
Kasperczak is back as Tunisia trainer after initially failing to get them out of the group stage as Africa Cup hosts in 1994 and made up for it with a runners-up spot in 1996 in South Africa.
In the final quarterfinal coaching match-up, Zambia’s George Lwandamina, who is making his senior coach debut with knockout stage tournament qualification at CHAN, will face the legendary Frenchman Luis Fernandez who is Guinea coach.
Fernandez is a 1984 European Cup winner and 1982 World Cup semifinalists with France along side Michel Platini and Jean Tigana and also coached PSG twice with most notably the 1995 UEFA Champions League where he reached the semifinals with Bernard Lama, David Ginola, Rai , ex-Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen and George Weah in his lineup.