The Confederations Cup has come and gone and for La Celeste the result was as positive as winning the whole thing. Tabarez’ planning seems to be working as perfect as a Space Shuttle launch. In a matter of 3 months we went from having mere hopes of qualifying for the World Cup to now sitting pretty in fourth (with Ecuador) and optimistically eyeing a third place finish and 7th in FIFA rankings giving us an automatic group seeding for the World Cup.
What we persistently requested from “el Maestro”, new blood, due of suspensions and injuries he has been forced to bring on new players and they have all exceeded any expectations, hats off to Tabarez for Stuani!, yes Stuani is adding depth (and a potential future replacement for Forlan) in the front line that we have long needed and begged for and young blood Gimenez was thrown into a high profile game against Colombia and stared down Falcao of all strikers. Tabarez and La Celeste resurgence comes at the precise time, any later and it would have probably been too late to turn the ship around.
All this has brought to the forefront a concern that I have had for quite a while now. What happens the day after either October 15 and we are eliminated (if the moon and stars align, we lose both games left to Ecuador and Argentina and Venezuela crushes Paraguay) or July 13 and we silence the Maracana once more. Who is in line to succeed Tabarez? It is almost for certain that he will be stepping down as coach, and maybe taking on a managerial role at AUF, at least that’s what Bauza wants him to do. But who will take on the task of coaching the national squad, continuing all the work done by El Maestro and hopefully building on it for bigger and better things.
I think it concerns me because I truly don’t like any of the youth team options (Garay, Coito, Verzeri) even though they have triumphed in there coaching positions I just don’t think they have what it takes to take on the Major squad. Mainly because I believe the national squad is the ultimate prize for a track record of incredible results. The few that I would have wanted to see take on La Celeste coaching position are now past their prime, Nelson Acosta and Sergio Markarian. I would enjoy Fossatti given a second chance due to the fact that he turned around a campaign that had less chances then this one did last June, bigger personalities to contend with (Montero, Morales, Silva) and made it to semi-finals of the Copa America Peru ’04 and was finally eliminated in playoffs against Australia for the World Cup Germany ‘06, albeit not his fault due to the fact that after the home game in Montevideo, both squads had to scramble to the airport, hop on a plane fly half way across the world and play 3 days later. King Midas Gus Hiddink had a charter for his squad who not only travelled in first class but landed half way to Australia and did some stretching and recovery drills, while the Uruguay squad thanks to Figueredo and co. flew in two different groups in coach with no recovery until landing in Sydney. But I still try to make a mental list of possible candidates and I really can’t think of any other then the aforementioned Fossatti.
All Uruguayan coaches seem to be lacking expertise. Many have the years of service but no true laurels to merit the national squad (Gregorio Perez or Anibal Ruiz) others just lack experience (Diego Aguirre and Da Silva). We have all seen what happens when you appoint inexperienced coaches to top squads (Juan Ramon Carrasco, Diego Maradona) you may get lucky like Barcelona with Guardiola but chances are you will pay for the inexperience. In my own opinion the only foreigner that I would like to take a stint at La Celeste is Felipao, I believe his philosophy would fit in nicely with the Uruguayan player characteristics.
What eases my concerns is that the current president at AUF is a professional and has shown he is concerned more about the National Squad and its image and not personal goals like so many of his successors. He will surely work closely with El Maestro to appoint a coach with a similar profile. But I still think it’s worth pondering and even debating, Who should succeed El Maestro at the helm?
Guest Writer: Easterner