Having hung up his boots, Yaya Touré now wants to make a name for himself as a first-team coach. To this end, he has become assistant to Carl Hoefkens at Standard Liege. He also hopes to see more Africans and blacks in general represented on the benches.
African coaches are under-represented in Europe.While Habib Beye leads Red Star (French 3rd division) with a masterful hand and Omar Daf has taken over Amiens (French D2), others are struggling to find a bench. Soccer legend Yaya Touré, who was with Tottenham's youth team, is currently assistant coach at Standard de Liège. In the coming months, he hopes to graduate and take the reins of a professional team, thus following in the footsteps of his older brother, Kolo. The latter managed Wigan during the 2022-2023 season. Even though he was sacked after just 9 games.
As the Ivorian knows, it's not going to be easy. Nevertheless, the former Manchester City midfielder wants to "see diversity" on the benches, as he told the BBC."Most of the time, people have questioned whether African or black coaches would be able to take courses properly and get involved in leadership roles. I think they'll soon have the answer. My brother was first, he started and I was second. Let's see. I'm challenging myself at a high level in Europe and we'll see if opportunities arise," says Yaya Touré.
Côte d'Ivoire, one day?
In Côte d'Ivoire, Yaya Touré means legend.With the Elephants, he made 97 appearances and scored 19 goals.He also guided his team to the 2015 AFCON title. So, one day, he could sit on the Ivorian bench. The offer has even been made to him in the past. "A few years ago, there was a chance to be manager of the national team. I didn't see myself (doing it) at the time, but it was an option. A lot of friends asked me to do it, but I didn't want to. After that, jobs came up in Europe and I preferred to train here (in Europe). But let's see what happens. I'm definitely up to it," he says.
If one day Yaya Touré becomes Côte d'Ivoire coach, he could be joining a very exclusive club.
Indeed, only two men have ever won the AFCON as player and coach. First there was Mahmoud El-Gohary with Egypt (in 1959 as a player, then as coach in 1998). Then came Stephen Keshi with Nigeria (1994 and 2013). In the meantime, he is learning his trade as an assistant.