Hudanski the man for Congo

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Prior to this year's tournament, Congo had never taken part in a FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

But as hosts of the African Youth Championships, they was practically handed a ticket to Canada. It was just a matter of finding the right man to help cash it in.

They found him in French head coach Eddie Hudanski.

"This has been a two-year process," Hudanski said shortly after the team arrived in Edmonton. "We've been working with these players for the past two years building up to this tournament."

A former coach with French club Limoges Foot 87, Hudanski spent time in China and also worked in Cameroon at the Kadji Sports Academy. There Hudanski had an opportunity to work with Samuel Eto'o - now a star striker with FC Barcelona.

"I enjoy working in Africa," Hudanski said. "The players are really willing to learn. They listen to what you have to teach them.

"In Africa, the players really want to succeed. To them soccer is a way to get out of their countries and go play in European leagues. That's what they all want to do."

African teams have traditionally done well at youth championships. On Four occasions African countries have made it to the final of the Under-20 World Cup.

"African players have a lot of raw skill," Hudanski said. "But there isn't that football culture in African and they not too familiar with tactics and things like that.

"That's something you have to teach them when they get to be 18 or 19 years old. It's not like in Europe where they have youth school and the players are being taught tactics and strategies at a young age."


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