2019, the year for Giresse?

Alain Giresse, head coach of Tunisia arrives during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Tunisia and Mali at Suez Stadium, Suez, Egypt on 28 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

One of the semifinals of this Total AFCON Egypt 2019 between Senegal and Tunisia will have a very special flavor for Tunisia coach Alain Giresse. The French tactician is still looking for his first continental trophy. As coach of Senegal, the success eluded him in 2015.

Before playing against Mali at the group stage in Suez, Giresse said "It was a bit special with Mali. I'm going to play against a team that I wanted to win with. But now, I have to beat it”. On the night of qualifying for the semi-finals of Tunisia against Madagascar, the Frenchman reacted in almost the same way.

Alain Giresse told the press that he would have liked not to face Senegal during this AFCON in view of the good links he has with their officials and players. Never mind, fate has given him a battle for one of the places in the final.

For Giresse, he wants a better finish than the third place he achieved with Mali at 2012 AFCON.

Born in Gironde (France), 67 years ago, Giresse, the player, has marked the history of French football in the 1980s under the colors of the Girondins de Bordeaux and the France national team, with whom he was particularly 4th and 3rd respectively in the 1982 and 1986 world cups.

He started his coaching career in 1995 with Toulouse FC, but it is on the African continent that Alain Giresse had spent the most of his career. He coached FAR Rabat of Morocco (2001-2003) and won the Throne Cup in 2003, before going on a trip to Georgia then back to Africa.

First Gabon from (2006 – 2010) and Mali (2010 - 2012) winning the third place with The Eagles at 2012 AFCON. The French tactician then joined Teranga Lions of Senegal, but unfortunately they were eliminated in the group stage at 2015 AFCON. An elimination that the Senegalese have not digested at all and following this adventure, he had another spell with Mali (2015-2017) ending in the same fate in 2017 AFCON.

In December 2018 he was named coach of Carthage Eagles. And after a slow start in the group stage with three points from as many matches, he managed the second place of group E behind his old employers Mali.

Yet Tunisia found fresh grounds in the knockout stages, eliminating the Black Stars of Ghana in the round of 16 then “Braea” of Madagascar in the quarterfinals. Playing in motion, speed of execution, tactical rigor, Alain Giresse seems to have led his boys to raise the pace of their game and gain more confidence.

Is it the time for Alain Giresse to cross a new level at the AFCON? To reach the final, the Carthage Eagles will first have to jump over the hurdle of Senegal Teranga Lions, with their Coach Aliou Cissé forming a duet with Alain Giresse when he was in command of this team. Now, they will be face-to-face in the same role where everyone hopes to win for a place in the final.