New news on the front. A few days ago I reported how Guardiola was willing to take Brazil’s NT coaching gig after Mano Menezes’ political departure from the position. Also, I reported how Guardiola was first in CBF’s shortlist so far, and how popular the move was going to be.
Well, I was a fool and so was the remaining Brazilian fan base who still gives a thought about the Seleção (you guys have no idea how unpopular it has become since the 2002 World Cup): the new Brazilian coach, according to media vehicles who have been mostly spot-on on predicting those kind of moves so far, will be Luiz Felipe Scolari, known as Felipão (or Big Phil for Chelsea fans).
The reason why Mano Menezes left the job isn’t only due to his poor performances against top teams but also political motives. Both José Maria Marin, current CBF president, and his right-hand Marco Polo Del Nero were trying to get rid of the residues from the last rein by Ricardo Teixeira who now lives in a mansion by Boca Raton, Florida. It also was the reason why José Maria Marin came out to media today to announce that Andrés Sanchez’s position as “National Teams Director” would be extinct and changed to “National Teams Coordinator”. That move also indicated cutting ties with Andrés.
Now, why not Guardiola? Pure and simple lobby mixed with xenophobia.
You see, Pep Guardiola is not only one of the most successful coaches of late but he also was willing to coach a country’s national team who holds tradition and also a lot of pressure from almost everyone in the world to be successful. He’s also young and Catalan, and that’s where the problem resides.
It seems that Guardiola was never a name under serious consideration by both Marco Polo and José Maria Marin. Much of it was due to fear of having pressure from coaches and pundits, who tend to be pretty patriotic when they see their jobs on the line.
It’s simple: bringing in Guardiola would not only bring Brazil a renewed coaching style that would be mostly in line with what you find in Europe. There would also be more attraction from coaches outside Brazil to come looking for jobs around, and after a study these days by Pluri Consultoria telling that top coaches’ wages in Brazil are pretty close to European ones, having to play near a tropical beach rather than facing a dizzy central city in Europe would at least amortize a bit of the potential money lost in this process.
Brazilian coaches would never want that. That’s why you’d see the likes of Parreira and Zico being outrageous with the media considering Guardiola for the job. Yes, we do have quality coaches and players around. But our football style these days is clearly lacking quality. Funnily enough, the coaches who can adapt their tactics to “European approaches” like Fluminense’s Abel Braga and Corinthians’ Tite are the ones who have had the most success in the past two years.
But there’s also another problem: appointing Felipão as the Brazilian coach is simply going backwards when you could have made a HUGE leap from what we’ve seen in Brazilian football so far.
If you already read my piece on how we deal with the Brazilian NT, you’re aware that I’m very fond of Luiz Felipe Scolari. There’s only one coach who could trail in his man management skills today, and this guy is Abel Braga. He was the one who made the 2002 World Cup guys as united as something attached to one another with Super Glue. But he’s been outdated since Portugal’s 4th place in the 2006 World Cup.
I’m not that old, but I’m still quite aware that football has changed a lot ever since Felipão won his last relevant title. It’s been ten years since then.
In his favor, Felipão had Rivaldo and Ronaldo. Both players were discredited due to injuries and off the pitch problems, and were pretty much trying to prove the world wrong and boy, how they did it!
To couple with the genius of both these players, Felipão used a heavily-defensive scheme coupled with a bit of roaming and positional interchanging that made the holding midfielder become a central defender when Brazil was under pressure and without possession. That clearly hid the lack of talent the team had overall. But along with Felipão himself, they’re still heroes.
Luiz Felipe Scolari could have retired right after leaving Portugal’s NT coaching job. It’d be perfect: he’d leave the sport while being loved by two entire nations as well as being one of the most successful coaches in Brazilian history with the national squad and with clubs. He had enough money to do that already, but he made the mistake of extending his run.
This 2014 World Cup could really hurt his legacy just like the 2006 World Cup did with Carlos Alberto Parreira. Worst of all, both of them could be together, as it’s very likely that the newest job created by José Maria Marin will be taken by Parreira.
Those kinds of guys should leave at the top of their respective careers. Felipão is risking to leave at the lower bottom of it.