After failing to secure the services of Guus Hiddink, who was already under contract with the Turkish football federation, the Ivory Coast announced that Swedish manager Sven-Goran Eriksson (previously employed by English League Two side Notts County) will be the head coach for the African nation. Sven took England to the quarterfinals of the tournament in 2006, before losing to Portugal in penalties. Now the Swede will have to face Carlos Queiroz’s side once again as the Ivory Coast is in this summer’s “Group of Death” with Brazil, Portugal, and North Korea.
Outtara Hego, secretary general for the Ivory Coast football federation said, “Eriksson signed a contract in London on Sunday. As most people know, Guus Hiddink was our first choice. When that did not happen, Eriksson was the best alternative. He has the necessary experience.”
Necessary experience? Is that really what this decision should come down to? Sure, Eriksson has been the gaffer for England and Mexico, but just ask those Mexicans how well-suited he is as a top-class manager. Sven had only won six games with Mexico, while losing six and drawing one. Not to mention his tenure ended after winning only one of his last seven non-friendly games as manager, almost causing El Tri to miss out on this summer’s show.
And after being sacked by Mexico, where did he go? That’s right, Notts County. How on earth is this man supposed to be respected by the likes of Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue when Eboue’s fellow Arsenal teammate Sol Campbell has described just how comedic the set-up at Notts County was with Sven in charge?
It was reported this week that Eriksson was on a three-man shortlist
for the role along with former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes and
former Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster. While neither Hughes nor
Schuster has the experience Sven has, it has to be said that it would
have been far less of a gamble to choose one of the other two
In an official statement, the federation said: “Sven-Goran Eriksson is the new coach of the Ivory Coast. He will lead the team at the World Cup, where his objective is an honourable participation.” African sides should not be participating for the sake of honour at their continent’s own tournament, they should be focused on honouring themselves through the success they are so capable of achieving.
That’s just my honest opinion on Sven’s appointment, what do you think of the decision by the Ivory Coast football federation?