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Mehdi Nafti, former international football player and AD Alcorcón coach

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Mehdi Nafti’s life has been linked to football since childhood. Born in Toulouse on November 28, 1978, and with dual nationality (French and Tunisian), Nafti trained at the academy of his city’s club. On August 22, 1998, he made his debut with the Toulouse FC first team having AS Monaco as their rival.

His first experience abroad came in 2000, when he signed for Real Racing Club de Santander. Spain would become an essential country in his career. In addition to the shirt of the Cantabrian team, he wore those of Real Valladolid, Real Murcia and Cádiz CF. He also played in England (Birmingham City) and Greece (Aris of Thessaloniki).

After more than 400 professional games, he remembers with special affection the ones he played with the Tunisian national team. He had more than 40 caps, conquered the CAN (African Cup of Nations) in 2004 and participated in the 2006 Germany World Cup.

From the grass to the bench

Nafti decided to train academically thinking on the day of his retirement. He studied ‘Business Administration’ and obtained the UEFA A License -to train in the elite- and the title of Sports Director of the RFEF. Mehdi’s coaching career began in 2016, with Marbella FC. The Franco-Tunisian’s next challenges took place in Extremaduran football: at Mérida AD and CD Badajoz. With the Badajoz team he shone in the Copa del Rey of the 2019/20 season. After eliminating UD Las Palmas and SD Eibar, they lost in extra time in their round of 16 tie against Granada CF. It was the Second B team that went the furthest in that edition. Also with CD Badajoz, he reached the play-off for promotion to Segunda A (2018/19 academic year).

His good work at CD Lugo and CD Leganés allowed him to make a qualitative leap. Settled in Spanish professional football, Nafti left a great memory in Lugo and straightened the course of Leganés, that went from being in the relegation places to dream of reaching the promotion play-off to First Division. After that, he coached Levante UD and Wydad Casablanca, with who participated in 2023 FIFA Club World Cup.

Philosophy as a coach

Nafti looks for his teams to be solid, aggressive, fast and winners. He admires the work of coaches with disparate approaches and game models, such as Pep Guardiola and Cholo Simeone. He considers that the ability to adapt to the environment and means available to him are crucial for any coach, and he highly values the youth players of each club where he works. Pepe Bermúdez Atienza (assistant coach) and Pedro Abraham Capellà (physical trainer) are his most trusted collaborators. He relies on them at all times, within an atmosphere of commitment that is crucial for the work to be successful.

Career as a coach

  • 2016-2017. Marbella FC
  • 2017-2018. Mérida AD
  • 2018-2020. CD Badajoz
  • 2020-2021. CD Lugo
  • 2021-2022. CD Leganés
  • 2022. Levante UD
  • 2023. Wydad AC
  • 2024. AD Alcorcón

Career as a player

  • 1997-2000. Toulouse FC
  • 2000-2005. Real Racing Club de Santander
  • 2005. Birmingham City (loan)
  • 2005-2009. Birmingham City
  • 2009-2011. Aris de Salónica
  • 2011-2012. Real Valladolid CF
  • 2012-2013. Real Murcia CF
  • 2013-2014. Cádiz CF
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