Who Will Be Russia’s Next Manager ?
Since Euro 2012 ended, the blogosphere and sports journalism world have been rife with speculation about Dick Adovcaat’s successor to lead the Russian national side. Candidates have been rumored, touted, and played down, but three days ago the Russian Football Union released a list of thirteen candidates that are under consideration. The latest news indicates Fabio Capello is in the most serious contention. Others include Pep Guardiola, Harry Redknapp, Roberto Mancini, Marcello Lippi, and Rafael Benitez. The list also includes a few Russian managers including Anatoly Byshovets, Yuri Semin, and Valeri Gazzaev.
Candidates from Abroad
Most recently the manager of England after resigning in February. His depth of experience is certainly unquestionable and it seems like he was never given the full chance to manage England after repeated intervention by the FA. He also has a wealth of titles amassed during a lengthy career around the Serie A and La Liga. He is a very ideal candidate given his methods of stamping out complacency and establishing a strong core supplanted by newer and younger talent.
Verdict: Currently the frontrunner in the process, appointment a definite probability.
Former Tottenham manager who transformed the club from a usual mid-table presence to a top four contender in just under four years. One of the more surprising names on the list, he is certainly capable of transforming the Russian squad. With his recent resignation and the summer off season only getting started after Euro 2012, he may get offers in the Premier League.
Verdict: A probable appointment but so far Redknapp hasn’t professed much interest.
The ex-Barca leader may have already ruled himself out after declaring his intention to take a yearlong break from football. But he would be one of the more ideal candidates given his experience with phasing in fresh talent.
Verdict: More of a possibility than a probability and may be eager to go on his sabbatical.
Mancini was rumored to have already signed an agreement with the RFU earlier this week but in a contrary revelation, Manchester City confirmed an extension to his existing contract.
Verdict: No longer in the running.
Lippi is well known for having never coached outside of his home nation until recently taking charge of Guangzhou Evergrande F.C. in the Chinese Super League. He certainly has the credentials and a depth of national team experience after leading Italy to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. But he is known for sticking with too many veteran players as seen in the 2010 debacle when managing Italy for a second time.
Verdict: Unlikely to take it, Lippi seems to be very selective about his employers.
Best known for making Liverpool a top four mainstay during his six year tenure and the dramatic win over AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final. Aside from his Liverpool stint, he guided Valencia to the UEFA Cup in 2004 and had an unimpressive spell with Inter Milan in 2010. With tensions inside the RFU high over a variety of issues, it may not be the best environment for Benitez to work in, given his history of public conflicts and confrontations.
Verdict: He has expressed interest but may turn it down if he gets a Premier League offer.
Bielsa was known as an innovator when it comes to coaching and training methods. His credentials got a major addition after guiding Athletic Bilbao to the Europa League final this year following stints with Argentina and Chile. His approach may be bring about needed changes in the Russian national side.
Verdict: A possibility but he recently stated his desire to stay at Athletic Bilbao.
Outside of Russia, Gazzaev is best known for leading CSKA Moskva to the UEFA Cup in 2005. He also won a number of domestic league and cup titles, establishing CSKA as one of the top clubs in Russia. In terms of national team experience, he previously managed Russia during the Euro 2004 qualifying campaign before being sacked after a run of poor results.
Verdict: His appointment is a long shot given the pool of international managers being considered.
Another former manager of the national team, Semin had a successful nineteen year tenure at Lokomotiv Moskva leading the railway men to a semifinal in the old Cup Winners Cup. He had similar success with Dynamo Kiev, leading them to a semifinal at the UEFA Cup in 2009. However his experience with the national team proved disappointing as they narrowly failed to qualify for the play-offs to reach the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Verdict: Will definitely take it if offered.
A legend in Soviet football, Byshovets is the third former Russia manager being considered. However, his managerial career does not nearly match his playing career. He has a wealth of experience in Russian football but aside from a handful of titles in the eighties and nineties, his only major title was Olympic gold medal in 1988; one of the last titles won by the Soviet Union. He briefly coached the national team during the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign but was terminated after losing all six games he supervised.
Verdict: Highly unlikely and his inclusion as a candidate is strange enough.
One of few Russian managers who has spent the greater portion of their career outside of Russia. He has held a number of club positions in Asia and briefly coached the Uzbek national team. He is best known for leading Cameroon to the World Cup quarterfinals in 1990 before being narrowly edged out by England.
Verdict: Called the list a joke and may have effectively removed himself from contention.
Kobelev is one of the surprise names given his shallow depth of overall coaching experience. Spending much of his playing career at Dynamo Moscow and eventually ending up managing the club, his tenure was very inconsistent with the club spending a season either contesting a place in Europe or battling relegation.
Verdict: If he is the only candidate left, he might get the job, but that’s unlikely.
His appointment would largely be an internal promotion as current head of the Russia U21 team. His only major past experience includes an assistant role at Krylia Sovetov Samara and head coaching the Russian beach soccer team.
Verdict: The only real possibility of Russian coaches on the list. His current work with the U21 side makes him a strong candidate given his familiarity with the emerging talent.
Currently leading the Russia-2 national team. Like Pisarev, he is an internal candidate from within the RFU and does not have a lot of coaching experience. Aside from a mixed stint with Spartak Nalchik, he only has a few assistant roles since he ended his playing career in the early nineties. He has also been a lightening rod for controversy after being accused of match fixing and being sacked at Anzhi before overseeing a match due to internal conflicts.
Verdict: Probably the weakest of all the candidates with the least chance.
Note: all verdicts in this post are based on personal knowledge and opinion.
Everything is changing all the time.
Posted from Australia
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