Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Job Opening: At Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast has fired its coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, barely 100 days before the World Cup opens.

But not to worry. If Nigeria can find Lars Lagerback, Ivory Coast no doubt can drum up some cagey old European of its own for an early summer rental.

The name being bandied about? One guuess.

Yes. Of course. Guus Hiddink, the peripatetic Dutchman. Some think he is locked up by Turkey, and he is, but ...

But ... his contract in Turkey doesn't begin until after the World Cup. And if he doesn't have some clause forbidding him from filling up his dance card for South Africa ... the man who led both Holland (1998) and South Korea (2002) to the semis and Australia (2006) to the second round ... is available.

Hilolhodzic is not happy. He thought he was going to the World Cup. But Ivory Coast apparently decided they needed a heavier caliber man on the sidelines than their 57-year-old Bosnian. The excuse Ivory Coast is giving is that Hililhodzic didn't win the Cup of African Nations (going out in the quarterfinals), but they didn't need a reason. Just felt like changing.

If Hiddink is not available, who's next?

Ivory Coast could do worse than to pick up the search list that Nigeria put together. That includes Sven-Goran Eriksson and Glenn Hoddle.

Like Nigeria, except perhaps moreso, Ivory Coast has the talent to make some noise. Start with Didier Drogba (44 goals in 67 national team appearances) up front, and you're off to a good start. Then take your choice from a surfeit of European-based players, as their wiki page indicates down in the "roster" area.

So, that makes for two flat-out, no doubts about it, foreign mercenary coaches at South Africa 2010. Lagerback and whoever ends up in Cote d'Ivoire, as we say in Paris.
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