Togo have set an ambitious, if not difficult target for their new coach. Paulo Duarte was announced as Claude Le Roy’s successor in May.
Le Roy resigned after failing to take the Togolese Sparrowhawks to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
But the Portuguese manager’s first challenge will be to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The country last played at the World Cup in 2006 and has since experienced a decline. Togo also failed to make the 2019 AFCON finals.
“Everything is spoiled. We are back to zero. But if God gives us the World Cup, we will go. But for the moment, it is to arrange the team so that we can win to go to the next CAN, to go to the World Cup,” said Mama Togo, the president of the supporters of the national team.
Paulo Duarte is aware of the expectations of fans who are thirsty for victory. At his unveiling in August, he called for patience signaling that the process of rebuilding would be long and painful.
“The objective is to come back. It is to give Togo the place it deserves. To give the place it deserves, we must rebuild a team, make a team with patience and as soon as possible,” Duarte said.
Duarte is familiar with coaching African nations. He was the Burkina Faso tactician between 2007 and 2012 and between 2016 and 2019.
In 2017, Burkina Faso finished third at the 2017 AFCON in Gabon.
Togo is pooled alongside Congo, Senegal and Namibia in Group H.
Duarte’s first serious test will be against Senegal on September 1 in Thies.