The Cote d’Ivoire have named Ibrahim Kamara as their new head coach, finally finding a successor for Marc Wilmots after seven months without a manager.
The Elephants parted ways with Wilmots in November following the Belgian’s failure to secure World Cup qualification, and have opted for Kamara as the man to secure the West Africans’ spot at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
Kamara, who had previously been head coach of the Elephants’ home-based team, was Herve Renard’s assistant during the AFCON-winning campaign of 2015.
He’s the first local coach to take the helm of the national side since Francois Zahoui’s exit in 2012.
Vice-President of the Ivorian Football Federation Sory Diabate had confirmed in April that the FIF would name Wilmots’ successor before the end of June, but ultimately waited until Saturday to unveil Kamara.
“Ibrahim has been appointed with a renewable two-year contract which ends on June 30 2020,” read a statement from the FIF.
“The new Elephants coach has the aim of qualifying the [national side] for the 2019 AFCON and, above all, to prepare the group for the 2021 AFCON which has been awarded to the Cote d’Ivoire.”
The delay between Wilmots’ exit and Kamara’s appointment was due to a fiscal deficiency, with the federation unable to afford a new coach while paying off Wilmots’ outstanding fees.
The unambitious appointment aligns with Diabate’s admission in April that the Ivorian Federation were not placing too much stock in the team’s performance in Cameroon.
“The 2019 AFCON is not a priority in terms of the final victory,” he told journalists in Abidjan April. “There’s quality in our team, and therefore our objective is to build something solid for the AFCONs in 2021 and 2023 as well as the 2022 World Cup.”
The Elephants missed out on Russia after qualifying for the last three World Cups, in 2006, 2010 and 2014.