Top 10 African Coaches In Europe With UEFA Pro License

Statistics show a growing trend of African coaches obtaining UEFA Pro Licenses and pursuing careers in Europe. The UEFA Pro Licence is the highest level coaching qualification offered by UEFA, the governing body for European football.

It’s an advanced coaching diploma. With a UEFA Pro Licence, African coaches have proven that they know how to develop strategies (tactics) for winning games, and how to train and improve players.

Most importantly, they can manage all the different aspects of a professional football club. In this guide, you will learn about some of the African coaches with the UEFA Pro License.

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Who Are The African Coaches In Europe With UEFA Pro License?

Here are some African coaches who have bagged the UEFA Pro License:

  • Rhulani Mokwena
  • Pitso Mosimane
  • Emanuel Amunike
  • Sunday Oliseh
  • Benni McCarthy
  • Steven Pienaar​
  • Mutiu Adepoju
  • Ndubuisi Egbo
  • Mehdi Nafti
  • Lito Vidigal

1. Rhulani Mokwena


Rhulani Mokwena Hloae, a South African football manager who leads Mamelodi Sundowns is one of the few African coaches to obtain a UEFA Pro License.

He comes from a family deeply rooted in football, with his father being former Orlando Pirates player Julias Sono Hloae, and his uncle, Jomo Sono, also a notable figure in the game.

Mokwena began his coaching career at Silver Stars, later known as Platinum Stars, where he learned under different coaches.

He had a breakthrough in 2014 when he joined Mamelodi Sundowns, initially working with the club’s development team before becoming an assistant manager under Pitso Mosimane.

During his time with Sundowns, he contributed to the team’s success, including winning the 2016 CAF Champions League. He also served as an assistant manager at Orlando Pirates under Milutin Sredojević.

In August 2019, Mokwena stepped into the role of interim manager at Orlando Pirates, managing the team for five months before returning to his assistant manager position.

Then, he briefly took charge of Chippa United in March 2020, but his tenure was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mokwena’s career took a turn in 2020 when he became co-coach of Mamelodi Sundowns alongside Manqoba Mngqithi. In October 2022, Mngqithi was reassigned, leaving Mokwena as the head coach.

2. Pitso Mosimane


Pitso John Hamilton Mosimane is a former South African football player and current manager of Abha. He has an impressive coaching career, having managed prominent clubs across the globe.

Mosimane coaching career all started as an assistant coach in Belgium before returning to South Africa to coach Mamelodi Sundowns reserves.

He made the headlines when he joined Supersport United as head coach, achieving notable success from 2001 to 2007.

Mosimane then served as the caretaker coach of the South African national team and later took over as head coach, guiding the team through different tournaments.

In 2012, Mosimane became the manager of Mamelodi Sundowns, where he won the CAF Champions League in 2016.

Mosimane’s success continued as he took charge of Al Ahly in 2020, becoming the first non-Egyptian African to manage the club. Under his leadership, Al Ahly won lots of titles, including the CAF Champions League and the Egyptian Cup.

After a brief stint with Al-Ahli Jeddah, Mosimane joined Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi before moving to Abha in Saudi Arabia in January 2024.

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3. Ndubuisi Egbo


Ndubuisi Egbo, a Nigerian coach, made history by leading Albania’s KF Tirana to victory in the 2019/2020 Albanian League.

This achievement made him the first African coach to guide a European team to a league title and secure qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

Taking charge of KF Tirana at a critical time in late 2019, Egbo faced the task of steering the team away from relegation.

However, against the odds, he not only saved the team from the drop but also moved them to a historic league triumph in their year.

KF Tirana’s victory is special as they won their 25th Albanian league title, making them the most successful club in the country’s history. The achievement is noteworthy considering the team’s near-relegation in the previous season.

4. Mehdi Nafti


Mehdi Nafti, a coach with experience in both Spain and Africa, has had a mixed career in football management. Regardless of facing challenges early on due to licensing issues, he gained opportunities with several clubs in the Spanish lower divisions.

From Marbella FC to Mérida AD and CD Badajoz. His stint with CD Badajoz in the 2019-20 season saw outstanding achievements, including victories over higher-tier teams in the Copa del Rey.

However, his time with the club ended unexpectedly in February 2020. Nafti’s managerial career took an international turn when he briefly returned to his home country to lead Étoile Sportive du Sahel.

Yet, he quickly found himself back in Spain, taking the helm at CD Lugo. Despite his efforts, he faced dismissal from the club after a challenging period. In October 2021, Nafti became the head coach at CD Leganés, followed by a brief tenure with Levante UD.

His time with both clubs was seen by successes and setbacks, leading to his departure from each. More recently, Nafti moved back to Spain in December 2023, assuming the managerial position at AD Alcorcón.

5. Lito Vidigal


Lito Vidigal, a former footballer, moved into coaching after retiring. He started coaching at smaller clubs like A.D. Pontassolense and G.D. Ribeirão before moving to bigger teams like C.F. Estrela da Amadora and Portimonense S.C.

In 2009, he became the coach of U.D. Leiria. In 2011, Vidigal took on a new challenge, coaching the Angola national team. Under his guidance, Angola qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012.

After leaving Angola, he coached in Libya but had to leave due to political instability. Vidigal returned to Portugal and coached teams like AEL Limassol, Belenenses, and F.C. Arouca. He also coached Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C. in Israel briefly.

In 2017, Vidigal took charge of C.D. Aves but left soon after due to disagreements with the board. Then coached Vitória de Setúbal and Boavista FC, before returning to Setúbal once more.

Vidigal’s coaching career continued with C.S. Marítimo, but he left the club in December 2020. He later coached Moreirense F.C. for a brief period before parting ways.

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6. Emanuel Amunike


Emmanuel Amunike is a Nigerian football manager and former player. Amunike is one of the African coaches In Europe that have a UEFA Pro Licence. During his playing days, he played the wing role for clubs like Zamalek, Sporting CP, Barcelona, and Albacete.

Representing Nigeria, he scored nine goals in 27 appearances and played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, scoring against Bulgaria and Italy.

He also helped Nigeria win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, scoring the winning goal in the final.

He went into coaching after retiring in 2004, starting with youth teams at SD Reocín and after coaching Nigerian clubs like Julius Berger and Ocean Boys. In 2015, he led the Nigeria U17 team to a World Cup victory.

Then took charge of the Tanzania national team in 2018, guiding them to qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

After a stint at Misr Lel Makkasa in Egypt, where he managed the team before becoming the director of academies, Amunike returned to his roots, joining the Nigeria national team as an assistant coach in February 2022.

7. Sunday Oliseh


Sunday Oliseh, a Nigerian professional soccer coach and former player, holds multiple UEFA coaching licenses, including the UEFA “Professional” Coaching License.

Oliseh made his mark as a defensive midfielder, playing for European clubs such as Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, and Juventus, earning recognition as one of Africa’s finest midfielders.

During his international career, Oliseh represented Nigeria in 63 matches, scoring three goals. He competed in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 1996 Olympic Games, where Nigeria claimed gold.

In 1998, he was honored as Africa’s third-best footballer by CAF. Oliseh’s unforgettable moment was in the 1998 World Cup when he scored the winning goal against Spain with a stunning long-range shot.

Despite his contributions, he faced controversy and was excluded from Nigeria’s 2002 World Cup squad due to disciplinary issues. In June 2002, he retired from international football after leading a protest for unpaid allowances.

Moving to coaching, Oliseh began with youth teams in Belgium before managing senior teams like RCS VISE and the Nigerian national team. However, his time with Nigeria was cut short due to contractual disputes and lack of support.

Afterward, Oliseh managed Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands but parted ways amid allegations of refusing to engage in illegal activities. After a brief break, he took charge of SV 19 Straelen in Germany but resigned after a string of defeats.

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8. Benni McCarthy


Benni McCarthy began his coaching career in Cape Town City in 2017, taking over from Eric Tinkler. While coaching City, he completed his UEFA Pro License and led the team to victory in the MTN 8 Cup in 2018.

Before his stint in Cape Town, McCarthy spent time in Scotland, living in Edinburgh since 2013. In April 2015, he joined the coaching staff at Hibernian under Alan Stubbs.

He assisted with the U20s and the first team, benefiting from Stubbs’ mentorship. McCarthy also had a brief stint in Belgium with Sint-Truiden.

Then again, serving as an assistant manager to Chris O’Loughlin after doing an internship under Yannick Ferrera. However, he left Sint-Truiden in April 2016 due to personal reasons.

In December 2020, McCarthy took on a new challenge as the head coach of AmaZulu. Under his guidance, AmaZulu achieved a second-place finish in the DStv Premiership, their highest in modern times.

9. Steven Pienaar​


Steven Pienaar, a retired footballer from South Africa, has ventured into coaching after his playing days. Following his retirement, Pienaar started coaching at SV Robinhood, a Dutch amateur club.

He worked under head coach Nana Tutu, who had previously been associated with AFC Ajax, where he assisted African players within the club.

This move reflected Pienaar’s commitment to giving back to the sport and nurturing talent, especially from Africa. In his pursuit of coaching qualifications, Pienaar achieved his UEFA A Licence in September 2019. Pienaar’s connection with AFC Ajax deepened when he returned to the club as a Trainee Coach in December 2019.

This step allowed him to immerse himself in a professional coaching environment, learning from experienced mentors and gaining hands-on experience in a renowned footballing institution. Pienaar’s journey exemplifies the growing presence of African coaches in Europe.

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10. Mutiu Adepoju


Mutiu Adepoju is a famous football personality from Nigeria. He’s known for his deep knowledge of the game. Even though he’s got a UEFA Pro License Coaching Certificate, he’s not actively coaching.

Instead, he’s working as an ambassador for La Liga. When asked why he’s not coaching despite his qualifications, he just laughed it off.

He’s happy with what he’s doing now and mentioned that he was part of the technical committee of the Nigerian Football Federation in 2018.

When questioned about coaching in the future, Adepoju said he hadn’t thought about it much and that he’s enjoying his current role, but he’s open to coaching if the opportunity arises.

He mentioned that he’s got the qualifications for it, so he’s not ruling it out completely. Adepoju’s response shows that he’s keeping his options open and focusing on what makes him happy at the moment.

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