For the first time, all African teams have an African coach at a World Cup

Pierre Lahalle/ANP

Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia all have a trainer from their own country at the World Cup football. That has never happened before. African countries often had a European coach. Many see this as a turning point. According to Jacco van Sterkenburg, professor by special appointment of racism, media and football, we are not there yet. "African players still have to deal with stereotypes if they want to become a coach," he says in the podcast "Het Kwartier".

Suffering from stereotyping

In many interviews, black former footballers who wanted to become coaches say they suffer from stereotypes. "There is the idea that black players are fast and strong, but are not good managers. That's why, of course, you see a large representation of African players on the pitch, but few black coaches. Club owners also often have an image of a white man when they think of a coach."

"To become a coach, you actually also have to be part of informal networks. These often consist of white men"

Black coach often has impressive career

"One sees that black players who did become coaches, such as Vincent Kompany, often already held leadership roles within the team as well as having had very impressive careers. With white coaches that is not necessarily necessary. To become a coach, you actually have to be part of informal networks. Those often consist of white men," Jacco says.

"One can speak of a glass ceiling. And it is very difficult to break that ceiling. The five coaches at the World Cup are hopefully an indication that this will improve in the future."

Docu on racism and discrimination in football

Jacco van Sterkenburg can also be seen in the new documentary "Allemaal gelijk?". The documentary is about racism and discrimination in Dutch football and is presented by Humberto Tan.

Discrimination in Dutch football is persistent, the documentary shows. "Unconscious forms of racism are so deeply rooted. They have become so normal that we are actually not aware of them. Nor are we addressed about it. In particular, I mean white men. Black people are much more aware of it," Jacco says in the documentary.

"Stereotyping is an example of unconscious racism. White men are more likely to be associated with leadership. That happens unconsciously because we often see white leaders on TV. It's the same in football. Football coaches are often white men. It's good to be aware of that."

Watch the entire documentary

Allemaal Gelijk? - A film about racism and discrimination in Dutch football


prof.dr. Jacco van Sterkenburg

More information

Listen to the podcast 'Het Kwartier' or it read the whole article on the VRT website:

All about the documentary ‘Allemaal gelijk?’:

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