- Amir Abdou is the coach of Comoros
- Underneath his steerage, the group has climbed 65 locations within the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rating
- Abdou and his aspect hope there’s extra to come back
The Comoros Soccer Federation’s (FFC) resolution to make Amir Abdou nationwide group coach again in January 2014 got here as a shock to everybody. Entrusting a struggling group to a 42-year-old coach with no actual expertise appeared a daring transfer to say the least.
Six years on, and that perceived gamble has proved to be impressed. Led by their unheralded coach and leaping from 198th to 133rd within the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rating, the Coelacanths haven’t stopped progressing or elevating eyebrows.
“I can see how far we’ve come, however I’m not stunned by it. It’s simply the results of lots of onerous work,” Abdou advised FIFA.com. “We’re very proud all the identical and we’re not planning on stopping right here. There’s nonetheless room for enchancment.”
Out of the blue
The story started when the FFC approached Abdou whereas he was in cost at Entente Golfech-Saint-Paul d’Espis, a group in France’s sixth tier. Born in Marseille in 1972 and of Comorian ancestry, Abdou was initially provided a place as assistant coach to Henri Stambouli. However when Stambouli turned the job down, the FFC made Abdou their head coach, a choice they didn’t remorse.
“There have been a number of folks within the working for the job however after a couple of interviews, they determined to go for me,” mentioned a smiling Abdou, evidently proud of life. “My constructive mindset, my want to do issues proper and my sense of organisation little doubt satisfied them. I’m so proud to be a nationwide group coach, particularly with my residence nation.
“What actually places a smile on my face is the fervour that your group can generate,” he added. “The stakes are larger. It’s not a city or a area behind you however an entire nation, an entire nation of individuals. That adjustments every part. Membership soccer is simply as necessary, however the adrenaline is on one other degree in worldwide soccer.”
Comoros have skilled an upturn of their fortunes since Abdou’s arrival. He started his tenure with a 1-1 draw towards Burkina Faso, who had been flirting with the highest 50 of the FIFA Rating on the time. His group has recorded a couple of different notable outcomes since then, together with a 1-1 draw with Gabon and a 0-0 draw with Ghana, although they’ve but to kick on and declare a coveted place at both the FIFA World Cup™ or the CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
However, good outcomes have continued to come back within the qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which have seen them document a primary ever away win in an official match – a 1-0 victory in Togo – and maintain Egypt to a goalless draw.
“If there’s one match that stands out, it must be the draw with Ghana in 2015, within the qualifiers for Russia 2018,” mentioned Abdou. “We deserved to win and the folks of Comoros celebrated it as if we had. It’s an incredible reminiscence and a benchmark efficiency for us.”
Punching above their weight
There aren’t any star names on this nationwide group, with most of its members enjoying in decrease divisions in Europe’s prime leagues. The one one with any expertise of European membership competitors is ahead El Fardou Ben Nabouhane, who performs for Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda. Not that the coach is anxious about his expenses’ relative lack of top-level expertise.
“You don’t must have superb gamers,” mentioned Abdou, who named Kassim Aballah (Al Raed FC), Nadjim Abdou (Martigues), Fouad Bachirou (Nottingham Forest), Youssouf M’Changama (Grenoble) and Ben Nabouhane because the backbone of his group. “In case you’ve received a wholesome and hard-working group of gamers and also you don’t have any issues with egos, then you will get the identical outcomes as any dream group.
“In case you take a look at our performances, and apart from the 3-0 defeat to Cameroon within the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, we’ve all the time given nearly as good as we’ve received towards the groups we’ve confronted,” defined the coach. “We’ve misplaced a couple of video games however we’ve made life troublesome for all of them. We play to our strengths: self-discipline, organisation and a improbable group spirit.”
Extra to come back?
Knocked out by Togo within the preliminary spherical of the African qualifiers for the Qatar 2022, Comoros are presently striving for a spot on the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. A whimsical goal only some brief years in the past, it now appears achievable, not least as a result of they stand prime of their qualification group for the continental finals.
“That is my third qualifying marketing campaign and we’re getting higher on a regular basis,” he defined. “We received three factors the primary time, 5 the second, and now we’re aiming for qualification. We’re not going to disclaim it. I’m not saying that opposition groups are petrified of us, however I do assume they’re cautious of us now. And because the outcomes we received towards Togo and Egypt present, we’ve received good cause to hope.”