Florent Ibenge, a model for Africa

Then a member of the coordination of V. Club, I saw Florent Ibenge come in 2013 as head of the technical staff of this Kinshasa training. Watching him coach this team and the substance of the game that it produced on the pitch, there was something special about him that convinced me that we had found a rare pearl, a new Kalambay Ngoy who had allowed the club to win his first continental trophy. What follows is self-evident. The influence of Ibenge on the international level therefore does not surprise me. His performances in V.Club and in the national team only confirmed my prediction on who I consider to be one of the best coaches on the continent, recently nominated by CAF. His talent is recognized today in the four corners of the world. A short stroll in his career shows that he started coaching in Europe in France, before going to Asia in China, the DRC, then to Morocco, the pet peeve of Congolese teams (national teams and clubs) with one exception. near Mazembe. One day, during a chance meeting with our mutual friend Mopele, member of the Supreme Council of V. Club, I said everything I thought of Florent IBENGE: « You are a great coach. He is one of the reasons why I did not tolerate your response to a fanatic who insulted you ». The last time I met him at the Sultani Hotel, at a time of doubt in the performance of the selection and the club, I said to him: « It in no way took away your skills ».

Always receptive, he thanked me for the compliments and advice.

The performances of Florent IBENGE in V. Club and in the national teams of Leopards A and A’ (twice vice-champion of Africa with V.club, champion of Chan with the Leopards A’, champion of the Confederation Cup with Renaissance Berkane from Morocco) changed the condescending looks towards African coaches in general and Black Africa in particular. Another Congolese coach before him, Santos Muitubile, managed to win the first edition of CHAN 2009 against Ghana, which fielded a Western coach.

The success of Ibenge explains the trust that several African federations have since granted to local technicians: Cameroon with Rigobert Song, Senegal with Aliou Cissé, Mali with Mohamed Magasuba…

Firm in my conviction that a competent Congolese coach put in the best conditions is capable of better results than his European colleague or others, this is how I greeted the advent of Mihayo at Mazembe to replace the Frenchman Hubert Velud. He offered a Confederation Cup with panache to the Lubumbashi club in 2016.

In this vein, I have great consideration for the Senegalese Lamine Ndiaye (a religious brother with whom we discussed a lot about the rivalry between V. Club and Mazembe which he described as a good emulation for Congolese football ) which allowed Mazembe to become vice-world champion in 2010, beating a Brazilian club in the semi-finals. Reaching this stage of the competition was a first for an African club. He remains for me the best coach of TP Mazembe of all time.

All the examples are gathered to relieve us of the « white wizards », these European coaches that our federations recruit at exorbitant prices hoping for results that do not necessarily arrive. It’s time to bet on your own skills, because they are there. They only ask that we give them confidence and the means to shine. Didn’t Simon Kimbangu say that one day, the black man will become white? Ibenge has just shown on the theoretical (CAF Pro License diploma) and practical level that science, skill and experience have no race. Otherwise, that of know-how and will. Which corresponds to the prediction of Lumumba who underlined that the black man, once independent, is capable of wonders. The Quran emphasizes that God created the different races just so people could know each other. There is therefore no race superior to another. What is valid in football is valid in all areas. An African country or Congo can win the World Cup with an African coach.

Moses Moni DELLA

Member of the Supreme Council of V. Club

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