New Chad boss Jean Paul Akono tells BBC Sport Online he faces a massive battle to qualify the Sawo for the African Nations Cup.
Jean Paul Akono, the man who has been assigned to qualify Chad for their first ever Nations Cup finals, has said he faces a Herculean task to build a new squad.
Akono, who led Cameroon to an Olympic gold medal, told BBC Sport Online that with the present squad the team will not make it to Tunisia in 2004.
« They have the potential, but have no experience in competitions », Akono said.
« I have made it clear to my employers that they must invest heavily if they want immediate results ».
Akono is currently watching six Chadians in Cameroon’s division one league with the aim of recruiting them into the Sawo, as the national team is known.
« If the authorities provide the needed means, I plan to travel to Europe to talk to other Chadian players, » Akono said.
« Most of them play in French division two sides ».
Chad will challenge Algeria and Namibia for one place in the 2004 Nations Cup finals.
Looking at the pedigree of his opponents, Akono thinks his mission is virtually impossible.
« Algeria are one of Africa’s giants, while Namibia have at least a Nations Cup participation. So it’s too early to talk about Chad qualifying for Tunisia 2004 ».
Chad, a nation ravaged by many years of civil strife and famine, can hardly boast of a national team.
Players from Ascot, Renaissance and Tourbillon, pacesetters in the Ndjamena regional league, form the squad which has made sporadic appearances on the continent.
Shortly after signing Akono last month, they participated in a four-nation tournament in Sudan.
With a 3-0 win over Ethiopia and two 2-0 defeats to Sudan and Uganda, Chad finished third.
Though Akono travelled with the team, he was not in charge.
But with oil money to soon flow into the country, football authorities are certainly aiming high.