Introducing Henryk Kasperczak
Heading into the 30th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations that kicks off in Equatorial Guinea this weekend, one of the coaches that won’t need much introduction is Henryk Kasperczak.
Like Frenchman Claude Le Roy, Polish tactician Kasperczak has also traversed the continent, albeit in bits between North and West Africa since 1993 when he made his first foray into the African game with the Cote d’Ivoire.
The 68-year-old is currently tasked to guide Mali to their ninth appearance at the AFCON, his fourth different side on the continent.
And knowing that old brooms know all corners, Kasperaczak’s vast coaching experience as well as tactical acumen about the game in Africa is what could, probably guarantee Mali a third successive top-three finish.
Why him to mastermind proceedings at the touchline for the Bamako-assembled team?
Since his first coaching stint in 1979, Kasperczak’s coaching career has often oscillated between excellence and mediocrity.
The former Polish midfielder, who won bronze and silver at the respective 1974 World Cup and 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, spent his first fifteen years (1978-1993) coaching in France; managing six clubs but that one-and-a-half decade stint yielded the Coupe de France title with FC Metz in 1984.
He then crossed the oceans and earned third-place for the Elephants at his maiden Afcon in 1994, got Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles a runner-ups finish in 1996, and fourth at his first spell with Mali in 2002.
Kasperczak may have failed to ignite the flames for Morocco in 2000 and Senegal’s Teranga Lions in 2008 but his itinerary on the continent is just enough for every Mali fan to remain optimistic, more so against tough Group D opponents Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Guinea.