Who is Adel Amrouche‚ the man linked to the high-profile Kaizer Chiefs coaching job?

Adel Amrouche of Libya during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between South Africa and Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadiium on September 08, 2018 in Durban, South Africa.
Adel Amrouche of Libya during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between South Africa and Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadiium on September 08, 2018 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Anesh Debiky/ Gallo Images

When he was last in South Africa in 2018‚ reported Kaizer Chiefs coaching target Adel Amrouche oversaw a solid 0-0 draw for Libya against Bafana Bafana at Moses Mabhida Stadium. He proceeded to land himself in hot water by associating Nigerian football with “juju”.

Amrouche‚ currently coach of Botswana‚ openly professed his admiration of South African football in the post-match press conference after Libya’s strong Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifying draw on September 8‚ 2018.

In Durban‚ the friendly coach displayed a quick sense of humour‚ though also a tendency for bold statements that might be a concern under a glaring spotlight such as the Chiefs hotseat‚ also calling the Confederation of African Football a “mafia”.

His praise of Bafana and South African football was so lavish he almost seemed to be auditioning for counterpart Stuart Baxter’s job.

“You know when you play South Africa it’s not easy. I know the quality of South African players‚” Amrouche said then.

“I always say that in South Africa and Zimbabwe is where you can find diamonds in their players.

“Individually – I’m no talking about the collective. But I think the quality of football is the best in Africa.

“ ... I prefer to play against Nigeria than Bafana. … Nigeria – if you want me to play Nigeria twice‚ I will. They believe in juju too much and we believe in work.”

Amrouche later tweeted an apology for the juju statement.

The Algerian-born‚ current Belgian national certainly seems not to mind – at times self-perilously – speaking his mind.

In another bold statement in Durban‚ this time in a pre-match interview with the South African media‚ the coach called Caf a “mafia”.

Amrouche was asked about a two-match ban where he could not take his place on the bench in a two-legged defeat against Lesotho that cost Kenya a place at Afcon 2015‚ and Amrouche his job.

The coach had always denied the charge of spitting‚ from a previous qualifier.

“Before‚ this mafia in Caf‚ they banned me without reason. It was an injustice‚” he said.

“And we all know the story about these people in Caf. And I will never forget these people. Because I was in Kenya. I was unbeaten in Kenya. I did a great job.

“But sometimes when you have people like this mafia at Caf‚ you cannot do anything. They kill you for nothing.”

Amrouche was not on the bench for the return match – played in Tunisia on March 29‚ 2019 because of the situation in war-torn Libya – where Bafana won 2-1 to clinch their place at Egypt 2019.

The coach had resigned‚ reportedly walking out of Libya’s training camp four days ahead of the first of their back-to-back matches against Nigeria‚ in October 2018.

Amrouche has reportedly gone as far as telling some members the South African media he has agreed a deal in principle to join Chiefs.

If that is so‚ and the coach is indeed appointed ahead of clear favourite Gavin Hunt‚ a sketchy trophy record is sure to come under scrutiny at a team desperate to overturn five seasons without silverware having been pipped to the 2019-20 Absa Premiership on the final day by Mamelodi Sundowns.

Amrouche apparently won two league titles and a cup in two stints at Daring Club Motema Pembe in Democratic Republic of Congo in the 2000s‚ and the 2013 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup with Kenya.

The well-travelled 52-year-old has also coached Equatorial Guinea and Burundi and been technical director twice of Percy Tau’s old Belgian club Royal Union St-Gilloise in the 1990s and 2000s.