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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


International Team Managers’ Seats Hotter Than Normal

Written by on March 30, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Posted in General, World Cups

It is understandable that after each of the World Cup Finals we see a significant number of changes in the management personnel of national teams.

The Finals mark the end of a four year cycle and along with managerial changes we normally see older players either retire altogether or step-down from international commitments.

As new management comes in there is a sense of a new broom sweeping clean and new plans for a successful run to the next World Cup Finals formulated.

What we sometimes do not realize is the attrition rate of international managers and how few of them actually see out the four years.

Take a look back to the intervening period between Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.

From the 2006 to the 2010 World Cup Finals only two managers made the journey successfully although one did take a sabbatical along the way.

Both of the countries that appeared in the final game in 2006 went into the 2010 event with the same coaches.

For France it was Raymond Domenech while Marcello Lippi was in charge of Italy even though Roberto Donadoni was at the helm post-2006 World Cup to 2008.

Carlos Alberto Perreira also coached at both finals but in 2006 it was for Brazil and four years later he was in charge of the home country South Africa.

Managers of five countries appearing at the 2010 Finals took charge in 2006 or before but their teams had not made it to Germany 2006.

The likes of Morten Olsen (Denmark) and Otto Rehhagel (Greece) had longevity while Reinaldo Rueda (Honduras), and Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay) were all appointed in 2006. New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert had taken over the national team a year earlier in 2005.

Then there was Joachim Low of Germany who had served as an assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann and stepped up when Klinsmann left to take over Bayern Munich.

Bob Bradley initially replaced Bruce Arena on an interim basis before being named the USA’s main-man some time later.

Coincidentally Klinsmann had come very close to replacing Arena before balking during the final stages of negotiation.

The remaining change was Dunga taking over from Carlos Alberto Perreira and in process inheriting the high expectations that go hand-in-hand with leading Brazil.

When you tally the numbers it tells us that around two-thirds of managers employed in South Africa had been in charge of their sides for less than four years.

Eight managers hired in 2007 successfully piloted sides to the 2010 Finals but that still leaves 40% who were appointed around two years (certainly no more than 30 months) before the Finals in South Africa.

Why so high when we are told more often than not that the managers are being given the opportunity to build over a four year time-span?

It might have something to do with what normally transpires the year after the World Cup Finals. That is when each of the federations focus on their own regional cup competitions for national teams – for some it means an extended qualifying competition while for others it will be the finals.

Asia held their finals a couple of months ago, UEFA and Africa are in the throes of qualifying for finals scheduled for 2012, while CONMEBOL and CONCACAF have the Gold Cup and the Copa America this summer to look forward.

The reality is that despite what the national federations tell us when they appoint the man too ostensibly pilot the respective national team through nearly four years of intense pressure to the Holy Grail of the World Cup Finals, the truth is the regional competitions post-World Cup Finals serves as an extended probationary period.

And that is why over the next six months or so why can expect a significant up-tick in the number of men departing their jobs with national teams.

The good news for the fans is that history tells us that there is more than enough time to regroup and to make a successful run to the World Cup Finals.

Who do you think is on the bubble and may not see out 2011?

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One response to “International Team Managers’ Seats Hotter Than Normal”

  1. Bryan says:

    O’Trapattoni has to be gone when Ireland fail to qualify yet again.

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