|Paul Le Guen|
Paul Le Guen is a football manager; was once a France international. His name is pronounced [pɔl lə ɡwɛn] or in Breton [pawl lø ɡwɛnː]. He was born on 1 March 1964. He played with FC Nantes and PSG and won 17 caps for the French national team. He has also managed Olympique Lyonnais, Stade Rennais, Paris Saint-Germain, Glasgow Rangers, the Cameroon national team and the Oman senior team, most recently.
The Nigerian Football Federation under Ahmadu Pinnick announced 18 July, 2016, that Le Guen was selected as the new technical adviser for the Nigerian senior team, the Super Eagles, having analysed his credentials compared with those of the other two candidates considered.
Now let’s look at his credentials.
He won 17 caps for the French national team. He played at Stade Brest for six years, Nantes Atlantique for two years, and then left Brittany for Paris St. Germain where he played for seven years making 478 appearances and bagging a Cup Winners' Cup medal in 1996.
As a coach, he led Olympique Lyonnais to three consecutive Ligue 1 titles.
At Rennes, between 1998 and 2001, Le Guen notably signed unkown players like Shabani Nonda and El Hadji Diouf, and guided them into world class footballers.
He took Lyon to three consecutive championships, beginning with the 2002-03 season, and even reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
In January, 2007, Le Guen returned as coach to PSG, when the club was lying 17th in the French league Ligue 1. He led them out of the unsafe zone bringing them up to 15th. He won the Coupe de la Ligue and qualified for the final of the Coupe de France. Winning the Coupe de la Ligue guaranteed PSG a place in the UEFA Cup for the 2008–09 season.
As coach of Cameroun, Le Guen made an immediate impact by leading the Indomitable Lions to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
On 11 June 2011, he accepted an offer from Oman national football team and led Oman to qualification for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup,
- With Lyon
- Ligue 1 (3): 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05
- Champions Trophy (3): 2002, 2003, 2004
- With PSG
- Coupe de la Ligue (1): 2008
He played 17 times for France due to injuries and he was part of the team which lost out on a trip to the World Cup in 1994, along with Eric Cantona and David Ginola. He ended his playing career by taking part in a friendly where his home county Brittany played 1-1 with Cameroon in May 1998.
He resigned from Rennes in 2001 after a fall-out with the club's board. This led to him taking a year off from football.
He took over affairs at Olympique Lyonnais in 2002 as coach and struggled with start games, winning only 3 of the first 9 games.
In March 2006, he became manager of Rangers in Scotland having signed a 3 year contract. He made a poor start recording only 2 wins in his first 10 league games. By November, Rangers were knocked out of the Scottish League Cup at the quarter-final stage by a lower division side St Johnstone; the first time Rangers were being knocked out of a cup tournament by a lower league side, and at home. This prompted protests by Fans outside the Stadium.
January the next year, Paul Le Guen parted ways with Rangers by mutual consent, making him the club's shortest-serving manager, and the only one to leave the club without completing a full season in charge.
However, his European record with Rangers was impressive after they remained unbeaten in the UEFA Cup and finished top of their group.
As the 2007-08 season ran to a close, PSG was back in the relegation zone, after Le Guen had guided them initially into safety, with four games left to play. PSG announced in May 2009 that the coach would leave at the end of the 2008–09 season.
Under Le Guen, Cameroon was the first team officially knocked out of the 2010 World Cup. He announced his resignation on 24th June 2010.
Oman were eliminated in the group stage of the 2015 AFC Asia Cup tournament with one win and two losses. He was sacked on 19 November 2015 after a poor start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.
Uduak Umo is a Public Interest Researcher. Follow him on Twitter @umo2013