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Managers to watch out for at Qatar 2022

Every four years, 32 countries battle it out to win the most prestigious national tournament that is the World Cup.

There are always the usual big names who are the favourites to go and win the tournament such as England’s Gareth Southgate or France’s Didier Deschamps, but here are some of the others who are quietly making a name for themselves.

Four of the managers who could surprise a few people in Qatar in a couple of months are Aliou Cisse of Senegal, Gregg Berhalter of US, Rob Page of Wales and John Herdman of Canada.

Aliou Cisse

Senegal’s head coach, Cisse, has been in charge since 2015 and has an impressive winning percentage with the country of 69% and has won 100 times in just 143 games.

He is probably most famous for winning the African Cup of Nations this year, when they beat Egypt on penalties. But he also reached the final with them as head coach in 2019.

“I am very happy with the title, it showed that consistency and putting in the work will give you results,” Cissé told the media when they won AFCON in 2022.

This also meant that Cisse is the first Senegal manager to win the tournament. He added: “We had our eyes on the title for the last 60 years, and tonight we finally achieved it”.

Cisse also has an impressive reputation as a player with Senegal, when he became their first captain to reach the African Cup of Nations in 2002 and has Premier League playing experience for Portsmouth and Birmingham.

Gregg Berhalter

The United States head coach since 2018, Gregg Berhalter, is arguable more low-profile, but is still very much one to watch. Prior to the US, Berhalter had previously managed Hammarby IF in Sweden and Colombus Crew SC.

Berhalter has a winning percentage of 64% while managing the US soccer team, which helped him to win a continental championship in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup with the country. Even before clinching the trophy, he said “It’s been a great month together”.

The US head coach has had a colourful playing career, playing in several countries across the world such as the Netherlands, Germany, England as well as the US.

Rob Page

Wales may be on the rise with Rob Page after recently beating Ukraine to reach this year’s World Cup in Qatar for the first time since 1958.

In an interview with North Wales Live, Page dedicates Wales’ World Cup qualification to Gary Speed and went on to talk about the “change in mentality” in recent years.

Before managing the senior squad, Page had also been in charge of the Wales U21 team so is very familiar with the setup. He boasts a winning percentage of 35% while managing the country.

He has undoubtedly led Wales to one of their greatest ever achievements after taking over on a temporary basis initially, when they reached a low point after predecessor Ryan Giggs was forced to resign.

Page also focused on the younger players when he said: “It’s encouraging, it’s good and we’re going in the right direction, and we need to continue to develop these young players like we have done for the past few years. It’s only going to get better for us”.

John Herdman

The final manager to watch out for is John Herdman who needs no introduction as he won the women’s World Cup with Canada in 2015 before he moved onto the men’s national team.

Although he is perhaps not the most obvious one to watch out for being the one of the few managers-along with the Qatar manager- to enter the tournament without any experience as a high-level professional footballer.

His only playing experience was amateur football at Hibiscus Coast before he then began his coaching career with New Zealand’s women’s national football team.

Herdman is the first ever manager to qualify both a women’s national team and a men’s national team in World Cups. This will be the first time the men’s national team for Canada has qualified for 36 years.

But Herdman is not resting on his laurels. He says: “Canada must find an X factor in Qatar”. In order to do that, he will be looking to improve on his 68% win percentage for Canada in all competitions.

Overall, all the above managers have come from lesser-known backgrounds and have had to work hard to get to where they are, but it is argued that some of them will have better reputation players than others.

For example, Senegal’s key players are undoubtedly Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane, Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy who all play at the so-called elite clubs. Whereas Canada don’t have any players at the top European clubs.

What do you think?