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Assessing Paulo Duarte’s tenure as Togo’s head coach

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Nearly three years have passed since Paulo Duarte took the helm of Togo’s national football team, the Eperviers. Amidst recent subpar performances against South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Portuguese coach’s future has come under scrutiny. While some critics call for his dismissal, others argue for his continued leadership, citing visible progress on the pitch. In this report, we delve into Duarte’s tenure and the impact of his strategies on the team’s performance.

Performance Under Paulo Duarte

Paulo Duarte officially became Togo’s head coach in May 2021 and began his duties in August of that year.

His debut match was on September 1, 2021, against Senegal, where the Eperviers faced a 2-0 defeat in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Since then, Duarte has managed 23 matches, recording 7 victories, 10 draws, and 6 defeats.

These results are broken down into 4 victories, 7 draws, and 5 defeats in official matches, alongside 3 victories, 3 draws, and 1 defeat in friendlies.

Improved Play but Inconsistent Finishing

Under Duarte, Togo’s overall play has shown improvement, but converting chances into goals remains a significant challenge.

Despite holding strong teams like Senegal to draws and demonstrating competitive performances against Burkina Faso, the team’s efficiency in front of goal has been lacking.

Duarte’s 23 matches have seen Togo score 27 goals, averaging 1.17 goals per game. However, considering the number of opportunities created, this conversion rate is underwhelming.

Conversely, Togo has conceded 24 goals, averaging 1.04 goals per match, indicating a solid defensive setup largely attributed to Duarte’s preferred 3-5-2 formation.

Struggles in Attack

One of the most telling statistics of Togo’s attacking woes is their struggle to score more than one goal in a match. Out of 23 games, the Eperviers have managed to score multiple goals in only eight instances.

These matches include victories and draws against Congo (2-1), Sierra Leone (3-0), Eswatini (2-2), Equatorial Guinea (2-2), Lesotho (2-0), Eswatini again (2-0), Cape Verde (3-2), and Niger (2-1).

A Period of Stability and Recent Setback

Before their recent defeat to the DRC on June 9, 2024, in Kinshasa during the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, Togo enjoyed a nine-match unbeaten streak.

This period of stability began on March 28, 2023, with a 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso in the AFCON2023 qualifiers.

This streak demonstrated Duarte’s ability to guide the team through a series of competitive fixtures without suffering a loss, highlighting a phase of resilience and tactical soundness.

The Path Forward

Paulo Duarte’s tenure with Togo has been marked by gradual progress and persistent challenges, particularly in finishing scoring opportunities.

As the team continues to develop under his guidance, the focus must remain on improving attacking efficiency to convert their improved play into consistent victories.

The decision on Duarte’s future will ultimately hinge on whether the visible improvements can translate into tangible success in upcoming competitions.


The assessment of Paulo Duarte’s time as Togo’s head coach presents a nuanced picture.

While there have been notable improvements in play and defensive stability, the lack of goal-scoring efficiency remains a critical hurdle.

As the Eperviers aim for future success, the coming months will be crucial in determining whether Duarte’s strategies can yield the desired results or if a change in leadership is warranted.

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