A former player turned coach at just 23, Serge Christian Guebogo has shaped several generations of Cameroonian women's handball for almost two decades.
"He left a very big void. No one knows if it will ever be filled". That's how the Cameroon Handball Federation (Fécahand) describes Serge Christian Guebogo. This name, which resonates in the world of Cameroonian handball, tragically disappeared one morning on February 14, 2023. Aged just 43, Guebogo was an exceptional coach who left his mark on women's handball in his country and even beyond.
His magnificent career as a coach was crowned with success. He won back-to-back silver medals at the African Championships in 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, he had placed Cameroon's women's team on the second step of the podium at the 2019 All-Africa Games, four months after his appointment. These achievements testify to his undeniable talent as a mentor and guide for the Indomitable Lionesses.
"As a manager, despite his young age, Guebogo etched his name forever in Cameroonian and even African handball. He was a hard worker who offered his country several medals. He was someone who knew what each of his players needed," recalls Fécahand executive Emmanuel Mbangkollo.
"Training is my passion".The path that led Guebogo to become a pillar of Cameroonian handball was nevertheless paved with determination and hard work. He began his career as a full-back. Trained at the Tsinga high school handball school in Yaoundé, he studied history at university while continuing to play handball. He won several university trophies before joining the Institut National de la Jeunesse et des Sports (INJS) with a view to retraining.
Indeed, Guebogo received the call to the bench at a very young age, just 23. I joined the INJS because I wanted to coach," he would often repeat. Coaching is my passion. I don't regret having stopped playing at an early age. In 2003, he coached Ekang Handball, followed by TKC juniors handball dames, Athletic HB, Volcan HB, TKC dames seniors and Dynamique de Bokito...Winner of several national trophies, he finished runner-up in the African Club Championship with TKC in 2016.
Three silver medals in 4 years
His rapid rise led to him becoming head coach of Cameroon's senior women's team in April 2019. His aim was to make his team shine and bring "extreme joy" to the Cameroonians, a mission he successfully accomplished. "He was an exceptional manager," continues Emmanuel Mbangkollo. He helped shape many players and build a conquering national team in such a short space of time. To win three African silver medals in four years, you have to be called Guebogo to do that.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, Serge Christian Guebogo was far more than just a handball coach. He was a beacon who lit the way for many players and contributed to the growth of women's handball in Cameroon. He leaves a legacy to be safeguarded, reminding us all that dedication, passion and talent can change the face of the sport, even in the absence of personal titles on the field.