Black coaches are shockingly underrepresented at the top level in football. Despite the diverse talents playing in top leagues in England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy; only two teams are led by Black managers.
The rarity of seeing black managers on the biggest stages is particularly disheartening when one considers the number of black professional footballers that play football at the highest level.
In 1960, Tony Collins was appointed by Rochdale. He was the first black manager in English history and took the Football League Fourth Division team to the 1962 Football League Cup final.
Dutch legend Ruud Gullit was the first black manager in the Premier League after taking charge of Chelsea in 1995. He led the Blues to FA Cup glory in 1997.
In 2008, Paul Ince became the first black English manager in the Premier League, taking over at Blackburn Rovers.
Only 10 black coaches have managed in the Premier League, with 2 being caretaker managers.
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG, looks at the top 5 black coaches in football.
1. Pitso Mosimane
Pitso Mosimane is regarded as one of the greatest African coaches in history and is currently the most successful black football coach in the world in terms of trophies.
After a relatively successful playing career, Mosimane joined Supersport United as an assistant coach and became the head coach from 2001 until 2007.
He finished second in 2001/02 and 2002/03 in the Premier Soccer League.
He later served as caretaker manager and assistant manager of South Africa and became the head coach in 2010.
He got sacked after the Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2012 AFCON.
Thereafter, Mosimane became the manager of South African giants, Mamelodi Sundowns.
He guided the club to their first-ever CAF Champions League title, defeating Egypt’s Zamalek — making them the second South African club to win it after Orlando Pirates in 1995.
Mosimane was ranked as the 10th Best Coach in the world in 2016, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).
He led Sundowns to league glory in 2015/16 and also won the Telkom Knockout trophy. Which meant Mosimane became the only coach to have made a clean sweep of all domestic trophies in the PSL era.
Pitso is generally regarded as the most successful manager in South African football history. He won 5 South African Premiership titles with Mamelodi Sundowns.
In September 2020, Mosimane became the manager of Egyptian giants, Al Ahly. He was the first-ever non-Egyptian African to manage the club.
In November 2020, he led Al Ahly to their 9th CAF Champions League title.
The club also qualified for the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup — where they eventually finished in third place.
Al Ahly won the Egyptian Cup in December 2020 and the African Super Cup in May 2021.
Furthermore, the club won their second CAF Champions league title under Mosimane and their 10th overall in 2021.
Pitso’s side won another African Super Cup in December 2021.
After his departure from Al Ahly, Pitso Mosimane was appointed as manager of Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli in September 2022.
He won the PSL Coach of the Season 5 times and was named the CAF Coach of the Year in 2016.
2. Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira, at his peak, was a complete, powerful, tenacious, and aggressive midfielder.
Due to his outstanding physical, athletic and technical attributes, he was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation.
Above all, Arsenal’s Invincible captain is a natural leader, which made teammates love him. His unmatched charisma and his ability to inspire fellow players set him apart.
After hanging his boots in 2011, Vieira became a Football Development Executive at Manchester City. A role in which he was saddled with training and developing the youth sides.
In May 2013, the Frenchman was appointed as the manager of the club’s new reserve team: the Elite Development Squad (EDS).
In May 2015, Vieira almost became the manager of Newcastle United, but he couldn’t reach an agreement with the club.
During his time at Man City, he learned a lot under Roberto Mancini. He also studied under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich to watch how the Spanish manager prepared for games.
After 4 years with City, Vieira left for MLS side New York City FC.
In 2016, he led New York City to their first-ever playoffs appearance after finishing second in the Eastern Conference.
The club improved its position in the combined MLS standings in each of his two years at the helm. It improved from 17th in 2015 to 4th in Vieira’s first season (2016) and then to 2nd place in 2017.
In June 2018, Vieira was appointed as the manager of Ligue 1 side, Nice.
In his first season, he led the club to a 7th-placed finish in the league — one place ahead of the club’s position the previous season.
After a run of 5 losses in a row in all competitions, he was sacked in December 2020.
In July 2021, Patrick Vieira was appointed as manager of English Premier League club, Crystal Palace, on a 3-year contract.
At the end of the 2021/22 season, he led the Eagles to a respectable 12th-place finish in the EPL and also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
3. Aliou Cisse
Aliou Cisse played as a defensive midfielder for the likes of Lille, PSG, Birmingham City, and Portsmouth.
He was the captain of Senegal’s Golden Generation team of the early 2000s.
They were runners-up in the 2002 AFCON, with Cisse missing his penalty during the shootout loss to Cameroon in the final.
At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the side stunned the world with one of the greatest upsets in football history as they secured a 1-0 victory over reigning world champions, France in the opening game.
Senegal eventually made it all the way to the quarterfinals, where they lost 1-0 to Turkey.
After his retirement as a player, Aliou Cisse became manager of Senegal’s U-23 team.
In 2015, he was appointed as manager of the Teranga Lions’ senior team.
He led them to their second World Cup qualification in 2018 — sixteen years after their first appearance.
He also guided the team to their second AFCON final in 2019.
Finally, in February 2022; Aliou Cissé led Senegal to win their first-ever AFCON title — defeating Egypt on penalties.
With the triumph, he redeemed himself after two previous final defeats as a player and as a manager.
Senegal have also qualified for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as Cisse continues to showcase the brilliance of black football coaches.
4. Nuno Espirito Santo
Nuno Espirito Santo is one of the best black soccer managers in the world.
He is of Sao Tome and Principe descent and has a black African grandfather.
After a brilliant playing career as a goalkeeper, he started his coaching career at Greek club, Panathinaikos as an assistant.
He became a manager in 2012, leading Portuguese club Rio Ave to both domestic cup finals in 2014. Thus, leading them to the UEFA Europa League for the first time in their history.
Thereafter, he had a brief spell at Valencia in the Spanish La Liga. During his time in Spain, he was named La Liga Manager of the Month 3 times.
Nuno was appointed as manager of FC Porto in 2016 but got dismissed after a season.
He spent the next four years successfully as the manager of English Championship club, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Espírito Santo led the club back to the Premier League after a 6-year absence, achieving promotion with four matches remaining in the season and being confirmed as Champions with two games to spare.
Wolves finished 7th in their debut season in the EPL. It was the club’s highest Premier League rank and their highest in the English top-flight since the 1979/80 season when they finished 6th.
Furthermore, Nuno’s side qualified for a European competition for the first time since 1980 — reaching the Europa League.
The 2019/20 season saw Wolves achieve a second consecutive 7th-place finish in the Premier League (with a record points total of 59).
Espirito’s team also reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League — the club’s best such performance since being finalists in 1971/72.
In February 2021, he took charge of his 102nd EPL game as Wolves manager in a 1-1 draw vs. Newcastle United. Thus, surpassing Mick McCarthy as the longest-serving Wolves head coach in the Premier League era.
At the end of the season, the club finished in 13th place.
In 2021, Nuno Espírito Santo took over as manager of Tottenham Hotspurs but got relieved of his duties after just four months in charge.
On the 4th of July 2022, he was appointed by Saudi Arabian club, Al-Ittihad.
5. Chris Hughton
Chris Hughton played as a left-back for Tottenham, West Ham, and Brentford. He is has an Irish mother and a Ghanaian father.
He became a caretaker manager at Tottenham and was later an assistant manager for the Republic of Ireland.
He became the caretaker manager of Newcastle in 2008. He led the club back to the Premier League in his first season in charge and was appointed permanently.
After his departure from Newcastle, Hughton had brief spells at Birmingham City and Norwich City.
He became the manager of Brighton & Hove Albion in December 2014. Three years later, he led the club to promotion to the Premier League for the first time in its history.
Chris Hughton successfully avoided EPL relegation for two successive seasons before being dismissed in May 2019 due to a run of poor form.
He was appointed as manager of Nottingham Forest in October 2020 and got sacked in September 2021 after a poor start to the season.
Ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Ghana appointed him as technical advisor, and the Black Stars successfully booked a place in Qatar — defeating Nigeria!
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