Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ivory Coast get their "man"....not really

So rather than getting Hiddink, the Elephants have chosen to head into South Africa with Sven-Goran Eriksson at the helm. Hmmm interesting choice. I guess old coaches never die they just keep getting recycled. Was this the best the Ivory Coast could do? I realize that there is much hype that surrounds the Swede where ever he goes and that he had some success at Lazio. But what has he done internationally? Yes he led England to consecutive quarter finals in the World Cup, but did he really inspire anyone's imagination with those finishes? He had a disastrous campaign with the Mexican national team almost finding a way for El Tri to not qualify out of CONCACAF. Unlike Guus, Sven does not have the same tactical insight nor command the respect of the former Russian boss. With such little time left until the tournament I am not sure what the Ivory Coast was thinking other than grabbing a "head line" manager. There were other managers that would have been better fits - Troussier - who has experience and success managing African
teams (granted he already had one tour of duty with the Elephants). How about another Frenchman - Houllier - who has managed both at the international level as well as with big clubs. What about Bora Milutinovic? Granted he is already managing Iraq, but I am sure the right sum on money would change that...unlike Sven and more like Hiddink, the Serbian manager knows how to get the most out his squads - look at his success with the US in the 1994 World Cup. No doubt he could have come into the Ivory Coast squad and had an immediate positive impact.

Unfortunately the Ivory Coast went with the "safe" pick but one that will not get them any further than had they stuck with their former PSG manager - Halilhodzic. They have a very difficult group to navigate and being able to add the tactical genius of a Hiddink or Milutinovic could have given them the edge to get past the other giants in their group. Alas, not sure Sven has that in his arsenal.....at least he is used to being eliminated by Portugal and Brazil....they were the two nations that knocked out his England teams in the last 2 World Cups.

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