Menezes poised to coach Brazil

The Brazilian football federation has invited Corinthians’ Mano

Menezes to coach the national team after Muricy Ramalho could not accept the job

due to his contract with Fluminense.

The federation said Menezes would announce his decision

today.

Federation president Ricardo Teixeira said on Friday that Menezes

fitted into the plan to immediately revamp the national team.

“What determined the choice was the understanding that an immediate

renovation is needed in the Brazilian national team,” Teixeira said in a

statement on the federation’s website.

Teixeira said Menezes would kick-start the project on Monday by

summoning the Brazilian squad for the August 10 friendly against the United

States in New Jersey.

The Brazilian federation said Menezes was on a list of three

coaches the federation had put together while in South Africa after Brazil’s

disappointing loss to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Menezes is set to replace Dunga, who was fired just days after the

2-1 loss to the Dutch.

“The most important thing in our selection was the need to embrace

a philosophy of renovation,” Teixeira said. “I have absolute confidence that

this will be successfully done, culminating in 2014.”

Menezes will have the difficult task of leading the team in the

tournament that will take place in Brazil for the first time since 1950 and will

add unprecedented expectations among fans in the football-crazy nation.

“The final goal is the 2014 World Cup,” Teixeira said.

Brazil failed to get past the quarterfinals of the past two World

Cups.

The federation said in its statement that Menezes earned respect

for his work at Brazilian clubs Gremio and Corinthians, with a trajectory marked

by balance and a desire to promote young talents.

Menezes led Corinthians to the Brazilian Cup title last year after

helping the club return to the first division following relegation in 2007. He

had also helped Gremio move back to the first division in 2005, and in 2007 he

led the team to a runner-up finish in the Copa Libertadores, Latin America’s top

club competition.

Three-time Brazilian champion Ramalho told the federation he

rejected the offer because Fluminense did not allow him to break his contract,

which had just been extended to the end of 2012.

Teixeira said Ramalho told him he wanted to coach the national

team, but Fluminense club directors blocked the move.

“Coach Muricy will continue with the club, honouring his contract,”

said Fluminense president Roberto Horcades.

Ramalho’s initial contract with Fluminense would have ended later

this year, but Horcades said both parts had already agreed to extend it until

the end of 2012.

Ramalho had long said his ultimate goal was to coach Brazil, and

before talking with Fluminense directors he had hinted he would accept the

federation’s offer.

“Who wouldn’t want to coach the Brazilian national team?” he told

ESPN Brasil’s website.

Even Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had already

commented on the man he thought was the new national team coach, saying he was

“a good choice”.

Other names touted for the position included World Cup winner Luiz

Felipe Scolari and former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

Scolari led Brazil to the World Cup title in 2002 and is the

favourite for fans, but he just signed a two-year contract to coach four-time

Brazilian champion Palmeiras and hinted he would not be available to the

national team until 2012.


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