Raoul Savoy, who has spent the last 13 years coaching in Africa, has replaced Peter Bonu Johnson as head of the Gambia national team.
Born in Switzerland, Savoy managed Ethiopia and Swaziland and also had stints with Cameroon, Moroccan, Algerian and his native Swiss clubs.
The 41-year-old said he feels honoured to coach Gambia which, in May 2014, was banned from all Confederation of African Soccer competitions for two years after deliberately falsifying players’ ages.
The International Soccer Federation (FIFA) lifted the ban last September after Gambian sports minister, Modou Lamin Kabba Bajo, was installed as president of the soccer association, which promised they will take steps to ensure that age cheating will not occur.
“It’s a big duty for me and I can assure you I will do my best for the Gambian people who love their soccer so much,” he said.
Savoy’s immediate task is to prepare Gambia for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. He said he’s impressed with the strides the Gambian Soccer Association has taken to move forward after the ban.
“They have already done a very good job, so now I am coming to continue the job and reach their objectives,” he said.
Gambia is in the same qualifying group with South Africa, Cameroon and Mauritania.
Savoy’s first competitive game at the helm will be in South Africa next month.
Meanwhile, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says that racist abuse has the power to break players and he wants to see tougher sanctions enforced.
“I have been in the situation where there have been monkey chants and it’s difficult to deal with that,” said Toure, who was subjected to racist abuse in Moscow last season. “When you hear something like that, it hurts you and breaks you.”
The Ivory Coast international said existing punishments do not go far enough.
“You need to give them a radical sanction,” he said. “Paying a 20,000 pound fine is not enough. You need to do more.”
FIFA has launched a system where match observers will monitor discrimination incidents.
Identified high-risk 2018 World Cup qualifiers and the 64 games in the final will be closely monitored.
In other soccer news, former Ghanaian player, coach and administrator, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, is dead after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70.
As a player, he was a member of the West African country team that won the Africa Cup of Nations title in 1965. He then led Ghanaian side Hearts of Oak to the 2000 African Champions League crown and Benin to its first Africa Cup of Nations championship four years later.
Attuquayefio was the assistant coach of his country’s national side that won Africa’s first Olympic medal – bronze – in 1992 and the coach of the Black Starlets that finished third in the 1999 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
“His contribution to soccer in our country touched the lives of many people not only in Ghana but also in many countries in Africa,” said Ghana Soccer Federation president, Kwesi Nyantakyi. “Our association is immensely hurt by the loss of such a talented soccer player, coach and administrator who shaped the lives and careers of many Ghanaian soccer players.”
The deceased served as vice-president of the Ghana Soccer Association in the 1980s and 1990s.