Zakuani appointed DR Congo coach

Zakuani appointed DR Congo coach
Gabriel Zakuani of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations

by Staff Reporter

Friday Jun 09, 2023. 13:00

Former Fulham and Stock City defender Gaby Zakuani has joined DR Congo’s under-20 technical team as an assistant coach.

The retired defender is a former DR Congo international who accumulated won 29 international caps and also captained the Leopards.

Zakuani, who spent his entire professional career in England, explained why he returned to his country of birth and accepted the coaching job.

“I’m looking forward to playing a role in shaping the future of our beautiful country. The appointment was not a total surprise as I had been working with the national team,” Zakuani said on BBC.

“When the new manager (Sebastien Desabre) came in last year, he contacted me and he has come to England a few times to get my perspective on how the country can move forward. I’ve had meetings with players of Congo origin, who are currently not in the squad. I’ve met their parents so I’ve been involved in the background,” he continued.

“It (this new coaching role) fits in quite nicely. There’s not too much pressure on either role. Since retiring as a player, I’ve acted and I’ve done media work. But I love the coaching and the media work. This new job isn’t all-year round so the role really suits me.”

Having retired from professional football in 2020, Zakuani’s management experience is limited to a brief spell with English non-league club Spalding United and he can’t wait to get going once more after being given this latest opportunity.

“Coaching provides a greater feeling than playing. With playing, you are in control of your destiny. I had a short spell at Spalding and it’s not easy when players can’t do what you would like them to. I am very proud, I hope this works out to be a prouder moment for me (than playing),” the 37-year-old added.

“It’s as good as it can be for DR Congo. When I first went to a training session, when I was first called up (by my country) in 2003, everyone had their different club shorts on. “Now we have official sponsors, just like the European teams. There is a long way to go but the progress is there to see.”

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