What would make one quit the chance of being a police commissioner to become a football coach? For 59-year-old Kamou Malo, passion was his only driving force.
Kamou Malo gave up the police commissioner's exam in Burkina Faso for a coaching diploma and now here he is in the semi-final of the African Cup on Wednesday (20:00) against Senegal, with the prestige of the local coach.
"It was a difficult choice. I had to take the competitive examination for commissioner, the dates overlapped," Kamou Malo, told AFP.
"I was a police officer in Koudougou, where I also coached ASEC (Association Sportive des Employés et Commerçants) in the first division, then I had the opportunity to go to Germany for a training course to get a coaching license," said the coach who guided the "Stallions" to the last four of AFCON.
Born in Fing in 1962, not far from Bobo-Dioulasso, he discovered football "at the age of 7 in the streets of Ouagadougou.
He started playing seriously at Soleil d'Afrique, a club in the Gounghin neighbourhood, and then "caught the eye of USO, the army team".
According to Kamou Malo, "football doesn't feed the man, so I took the competitive examination to become a police officer," and "after the police academy, I was recruited by Etoile Filante, the biggest team in Burkina Faso.
- Born leader -
Whiles in the police service, he still had passion for coaching. "As soon as I could kick a ball, I found myself coaching the young people in my neighbourhood," he recalls, "I was coaching the AS Police team..."
"I think I am a born leader, I had the dispositions for a coach," Kamou Malo assures.
"His first quality is his leadership," former Federation president Colonel Sita Sangaré told AFP.
"It was not for the love of it, Paulo Duarte did a very good job and he has a very strong emotional bond with my country," continued Colonel Sangare.
The Portuguese led the Stallions from 2007 to 2012 and from 2017 to 2019.
However, "we needed an electroshock," continues Colonel Sangaré, "we took the gamble of a local coach so that the electroshock would be complete. It was a risky bet, but Kamou Malo, with his fighting temperament and strong character, also had results.
He was twice Burkina Faso champion with Rail Club Kadiogo (2016, 2017).
- "Trust us more" -
It was also necessary to "regenerate" the team, the manager continued, welcoming his choice: "The facts prove us right."
"I had to renew the group, but that was not the only objective, I was also asked to qualify for the CAN," Malo continues, who wants "to dedicate this" semi-final "to our people, who you know, are going through difficult times" with a coup d'état.
On his status as Burkina Faso's coach, he "encourages African leaders to recruit locally. They should trust us more and allow us to have the same training as foreigners. It's a cry from the heart.
Kamou Malo "prefers the transfer of skills rather than people coming to practice here. We have all learnt from them (the expatriates), but this is the only way we will have experience and expertise. As long as we are not working, we cannot know if we are competent or not.