Coach Abedi Pele takes his club into Africa

2011-12-07 07:05

Ghana football legend Abedi Pele will coach at international level for the first time next year when his club Nania FC compete for the next year’s CAF Confederation Cup.

A Uefa Champions League medal winner with Marseille two decades ago, the slightly built midfielder was the outstanding African footballer of the early 1990s and topped the CAF Footballer of the Year poll three times.

Club president Pele says he also coaches second division Nania – a mainly youthful team captained by defender Lawrence Lartey – to repay his country for the opportunities it gave him.

Nania qualified for the second-tier Pan-African competition by shocking top-flight Asante Kotoko 1-0 in the Ghana FA Cup final courtesy of a spectacular Evans Omani extra-time goal.

So while Kotoko and equally famous Hearts of Oak must settle for domestic football fare next year, Nania aim to make an impact beyond the borders of the west African nation.

“Winning the FA Cup was great,” admits Pele, whose professional career included spells at Niort, Mulhouse, Marseille, Lille and Lyon in France, Torino in Italy and 1860 Munich in Germany.

“We waited 13 years for our first title and worked hard to reach this level. Our strategy was to play like Barcelona -- tight in defence, giving Kotoko no room to play their usual game.

“Kotoko are a great team and it is always hard to beat them. You have to be strong tactically and technically to defeat Asante. Our tactical awareness was high and made the difference.”

Pele said he would rely on the cup-winning squad for the African campaign because new signings would use financial resources needed to cover Confederation Cup expenses.

“We have conquered Ghana so let us now try and conquer Africa. This is a fresh challenge for everyone at the club. Our task is to prepare physically, mentally and tactically.”

The draw for the three qualifying rounds of a competition won by Moghreb Fes of Morocco last weekend is scheduled for mid-December in Cairo and Nania are bound to attract attention despite many big-name entrants.

Among clubs set to compete are former African champions Entente Setif and JS Kabylie of Algeria, Club Africain of Tunisia, Ismailia of Egypt, ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast, Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Union Douala of Cameroon.

Another powerful entrant are CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, the only club to win the Confederation Cup twice since its 2004 inauguration, and CODM Meknes will be watched closely as unfancied Moroccan sides won the last two editions.

After three two-leg elimination rounds between February and May, the eight survivors face the losers from the final CAF Champions League qualifiers with group places at stake.

Following six rounds of mini-league action there are semi-finals and a final staged on a home-and-away basis with the winners pocketing $660 000 (R5.2 million) and a place in the CAF Super Cup against the Champions League title holders.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.