Seven famous managers you had no idea are still working in international football

Football is a fast-moving industry. One year you can be pitting your wits against some of the sport’s finest minds in the Premier League and Champions League. The next thing you know your agent is asking you to consider offers from countries you’d probably struggle to point to on a globe.

As an extension of the painfully true “guys can just name old football players and have the best time” adage, browsing the comprehensive Wikipedia list of active international football managers reminded us of names we’d not thought about in years.

Without further ado, we’ve taken a closer look at seven famous managers that are now in working in relatively low-profile jobs in international football.

Terry Connor

It’s probably a bit of a stretch to describe Connor as a famous manager, given his previous experience in the dugout amounted to 13 matches in charge of Wolves following Mick McCarthy’s sacking in 2012.

That stint is best remembered for Connor looking thoroughly haunted by Wolves’ impending relegation. The former striker subsequently went on to reunite with McCarthy in an assistant coaching role at Ipswich Town before following the Yorkshireman to the Republic of Ireland, APOEL, Cardiff City and Blackpool.

Eleven years after that miserable and short-lived stint at Molineux, Connor became a head coach in his own right once again – at Grenada.

The West Indies nation are ranked 174 in the FIFA Rankings, between St Vincent and the Grenadines and Nepal. Connor is winless in the five matches he’s taken charge of, their most recent outing a 4-0 pasting to Suriname.

Thomas Christiansen

Some might remember the former Spain international as one of many managers to take charge of Leeds United during their 16-year exile outside the Premier League.

He started out promisingly enough at Elland Road, but found himself out of a job after eight months in charge. A short stint at Belgian club Union SG followed, but he’s since found himself settled at Panama.

Christiansen is now into his fourth year in charge of the Central American nation. He’s been at the helm for over 50 matches and boasts a decent 49% win percentage, peaking when he led them to the Nations League final four last year.

Fellow Leeds old boy Lee Bowyer is also working in international football, in charge of Montserrat.

READ: 7 former footballers you had no idea are international managers in 2024

Avram Grant

Grant watching on as John Terry missed that penalty against Manchester United feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

The Israeli coach has taken an eclectic series of jobs since leading Portsmouth and West Ham to relegations, including Partizan Belgrade, Ghana and Indian Super League outfit NorthEast United.

Since 2022, he’s been in charge of Zambia – he led them to qualify for the most recent Africa Cup of Nations, but they were eliminated in the group stage after failing to win a match.

Dick Advocaat

A title winner with PSV, Rangers and Zenit Saint Petersburg, Advocaat is now well into his seventies but has never really stopped working.

The Dutchman has taken no fewer than eight different jobs since he left Sunderland back in 2015. Five of those have been in his native Netherlands – including the national team for a brief stint in 2017 – but he’s also taken charge of Iraq and now Caribbean nation Curacao.

Now there’s a man unafraid of a unique challenge.

Hector Cuper

The Argentinian’s CV includes the likes of Valencia, Inter and Real Betis. An arch proponent of catenaccio, his defensive football won over few neutrals but it did – somewhat unthinkably now – lead Valencia to back-to-back Champions League finals.

Over the past 10 years, Cuper has enjoyed a well-travelled career, taking charge of Orduspor (Turkey), Al Wasl (Dubai), Egypt, Uzbekistan, DR Congo and now Syria.

Can you name every manager that's won a title in Europe's five major leagues since 2000? Jose Mourinho Jurgen Klopp

QUIZ: Can you name every manager to win a title in Europe’s major leagues since 2000?

Heimir Hallgrimsson


We’re not going to double-check but we’re reasonably confident that Hallgrimsson is the only name on this list qualified as both a football manager and a dentist.

The former defender is best known for his five glorious years in charge of Iceland, which included that victory over England at Euro 2016 before their remarkable qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

He resigned following their group stage exit in Russia and subsequently two and a half years (presumably) raking it in at Qatar Stars League club Al-Arabi.

Since September 2022, he’s been in charge of Jamaica, for whom he’s led to seven wins, seven draws and seven defeats from his 21 matches in charge. Definition of a mixed bag, that.

Hallgrimsson’s Jamaica will be participants at the Copa America in the United States this summer. They’ve been drawn against Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador in the group stage.

Paulo Bento

The former Sporting, Portugal and South Korea manager is currently in charge of the United Arab Emirates.

With Bento at the helm, they beat Hong Kong, drew with Palestine and lost to Iran in the group stage of the Asian Cup back in January. They faced Tajikistan in the Round of 16 and drew 1-1 before losing the penalty shootout.

READ NEXT: 13 international teams that are long overdue a renaissance: Germany, Mexico, Ireland…

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the most capped player for these 25 European nations?