After George Weah last month, FIFA.com spoke to another legend of African football, Abdelmajid Chetali, the first African coach to win a final phase match at a FIFA World Cup™, with Tunisia in 1978.
Every month FIFA.com presents an article offering an in-depth look at a player, match or event featured in its amazing five-DVD anthology of the African game.
Before he became a legendary coach, Abdelmajid Chetali was a busy, creative midfielder known for his organisational skills and ability to unlock defences with inch-perfect passes. He was also a confident dribbler and liked nothing better than going round defenders, though his penchant for delaying the final ball occasionally earned him criticism.
In 70 matches for Tunisia, he scored four goals and was only ever yellow-carded once. He spent most of his career at L'Etoile Sportive du Sahel, captaining both them and his country, before taking his coaching certificate in 1974 at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and almost seamlessly moving on to manage his national team in January 1975.
Play as a team, keep focused and just go for it. Anything is possible in football!
His innate ability to explain, convince and demonstrate what he wanted his players to do enabled him to get the best out of his squads and overcome various crises to steer Tunisia to its first ever final phase of a FIFA World Cup in Argentina in 1978. This tournament saw him go down in the annals as the first ever coach of an African team to record a win at a final phase when they defeated Mexico 3-1, though it would prove insufficent for his side to progress to the next stage.
He is now a well respected sports consultant for a television channel, allowing him to follow all the latest developments in football. His imagination and unpredictable nature are still intact, and his message to budding young footballers is also the same after all these years: "Play as a team, keep focused and just go for it. Anything is possible in football!" And when asked for one phrase to summarise his career, he replies with a smile: "I enjoyed myself and I think people enjoyed watching me."