With €450 Per Month: Meet Burundi’s Olivier, the Africa Cup of Nations Lowest Paid Coach
Ducor Sports takes a look at the Olivier Niyungeko, the least paid coach at AFCON 2019.
If ever the world’s coaches were to go on a public display of their earnings, Burundi’s Olivier Niyungeko would probably have to hide his.
In a digital world, nothing glides undetected beneath the roving lenses of the media from public officials down to the rank and files.
Jeune Afrique, a Paris-based pan-African publication boasting a whopping 87,000 circulation, this week made it is business to dig up facts regarding the salaries of coaches in the ongoing African Cup of Nations and the results were a revealing insight.
There were big earners who became the juicy bits of back pages.
Erstwhile Atletico Madrid’s gaffer Javier Aguirre occupying the managerial hot-seat of The Pharaohs – leading Egypt’s charge for an eight Africa Cup of Nations title – tops the list.
The 60-year-old, who has already qualified the hosts to the last 16, takes home a whopping €108,000 every thirty days.
The Egyptian Football Association and government obviously found him cheaper than predecessor Argentine Hector Cuper who pocketed little more than €125,000 per month.
Cameroon’s Clarence Seedorf comes close at second in the best paid AFCON managers’ roster, raking up €96,000 euros, €16,000 more than Morocco’s French gaffer Renard Herve who pockets €80,000.
Stuart Baxter of the Bafana Bafana follows suit with Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi the sole homegrown coach on the top-five big earners’ list.
The dossier, however, reveals one bitter truth – Africans would rather trust hired foreign coaches than their own, and in the instance of locally trained gaffers get appointed, their salaries would certainly never match the jaw-dropping figures their European counterparts command in the continent.
This brings to sharp focus the case of Burundi’s Olivier Niyungeko whose returns are next to a paltry sum.
His monthly income from the Burundian FA and government is quoted to be no more than €450 for a man who shepherded the landlocked country to its first ever Africa Cup of Nations.
Hired in 2016 having acted as an understudy for Algerian-born Ahcene Ait-Abdelmalek, the 48-year-old association with The Swallows reels on the back of a successful spell with local outfit Flambeau de I’Est whom he guided to the Burundi premier league title in 2013.
Seeing how he had spurred and morphed Flambeau and guided them into the first side out of the capital Bujumbura to lay hands on the national championship gong, the federation thought it best to incorporate Olivier into its A-team’s technical bench.
And under the tutelage of Ahcene, he has not only learned but mastered the craft in the dug-out and his perseverance paid off with the national team when he qualified them for Cairo by virtue of being second-place holders in their qualifying group.
The figure, whose bald is unmistakable, was swept off his feet, raised above shoulders and soaked in cans of beer by his own regiment of players in a frenzy as elation gripped Burundi in the immediate aftermath of booking them an AFCON ticket.
The Swallows would go on to bite the dust to Nigeria, Madagascar and Guinea Conakry with only Kenya left for them this Thursday but the salary of Olivier continues to hug the headlines. There have been pleas from varying quarters demanding increment of the gaffer’s pay and his technicians. Skipper Saido Berahinho’s 70,000 pounds per week figures at Stoke City alone is miles away from the bucks Olivier is placed on.
Gone were the days when patience was a virtue in the sport and club boards or movers and shakers of football associations accorded managers time to instil their stamp prints on their teams without being fired.
Unlike most of his peers in the events in Cairo, Niyungeko wouldn’t have the pressure cooker turned on him which most often than not culminates into the axe being wielded should he fail to breeze past the group stages.
There appears to be that ease for him to enjoy but nothing will certainly bring greater joy for Burundi’s manager than to have his payment upped.