The year 2020 marks approximately eight years since Zamalek head coach Patrice Carteron came into Africa and he continues to be one of the few European coaches who are making an indelible mark in African football.
Just last month, Carteron won two back to back Super Cup titles, beating Esperance in the CAF Super Cup and also arch-rivals Al Ahly in an Egyptian super cup game.
Interestingly both games took place outside Africa, in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates respectively. As he reflects on his stay in Africa so far, Carteron who hails from France says he felt in love with this continent.
When Carteron won his first CAF Champions League title with TP Mazembe back in 2015, they had beaten Mamelodi Sundowns during the preliminary stages. When asked which team had given them a tough competition in that particular year, he pointed back at Pitso Mosimane’s team.
The 49-year-old has spent the past five years in North Africa, with more time seeing him working in Egypt for the likes of Wadi Degla, Al Ahly, Raja Casablanca (Morocco) and now at Zamalek.
Carteron says also touches on having gone to the US during this period to coach Didier Drogba’s team.
Earlier this season, he replaced former Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic and managed to hit the ground running, he says big teams like Zamalek always have to lead from the front.
Carteron who also coached Mali in his first-ever job on the continent back in 2012 and took them to a bronze medal at the 2013 AFCON tournament here in South Africa, weighs in on what he’s done differently at Zamalek and also his philosophy.
In the past few weeks, he’s also been dominating Esperance, not only beating them in the Super Cup but also eliminated the Tunisian giants and back to back African champions from the last two years in the CAFCL.
The domination over Esperance is also a sweet revenge having lost the 2018 CAFCL title to the Tunisians when he was still with.
To make things more interesting, Carteron and Zamalek will meet Raja Casablanca in the CAFCL semi-finals and this is the last team he coached before he joined Mortada Mansour’s team. He looks back at his time in Raja and what he’s learnt about African football so far.
– Report by Velile Mnyandu