LISTEN! LeRoy believes Africa should have more Ballon d’Or nominees

Veteran French coach Claude LeRoy has worked in Africa for the last 36 years and is among the most celebrated tacticians the continent has ever seen.

A former Africa Cup of Nations winner with Cameroon, he has never held a position in the COSAFA region but knows African football inside out and is bullish about the rising quality of the game.

He has recently completed a five-year spell with Togo, having also previously worked with Senegal, DR Congo and Ghana, who he took to a team record 14th position on the FIFA World Rankings in 2008.

“The average level of African football is improving every year,” LeRoy tells The COSAFA Show. “And when you have a coach in charge of a national team for a long time, the results are good, like we see now in Senegal and Algeria.”

He has expressed bitter disappointment that only two African players, Mo Salah from Egypt and Riyad Mahrez of Algeria, have been named as nominees for the FIFA Ballon d’Or this year and says this is the continued disrespect Africa has to endure.

“What we need for African football is more than two players nominated for the Ballon d’Or. When you see, for example, the goalkeeper of Chelsea [Edouard] Mendy is not in the 30 best players in the world. It seems unbelievable.

“The way the world is looking at Africa, it is still not enough. When people in Europe look at Africa, they don’t remember that the three top scorers in the English Premier League in the 2018-19 season were from the continent.

“Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, and that is in what many people say is the best championship in the world. Therefore, how can you not recognise the level of African football?

“Sure, we need to rise at the World Cup and have a team that gets to the semifinals, but it will happen. The level of football in Africa is definitely growing every year.”

Also in this episode we hear from Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos, and the coaches who led their teams in the final of the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay.