Why Capello is a bad choice for Russia


Having parting ways with Dick Advocaat after the Euros, Russia faced a massive decision over whom to appoint as his successor. Having failed to qualify for the last two World Cups and with the team that impressed so much at Euro 2008 collectively aging, the Russians face a serious challenge in maintaining their fast-slipping status as a top footballing nation. Plus with the World Cup in Russia just six years away, this arguably the most important appointment the RFU will have ever made.

Personally I don’t think Capello is a smart choice for Russia. Firstly the Russian public has seemingly become disillusioned with the idea of a foreign manager after the disappointment of Hiddink and then Advocaat’s reign. It’s worth noting also that those two were both Dutch and the strong and long standing stylistic similarities between Dutch and Russian football are common knowledge – Italian football however couldn’t be more different, so it’s likely Capello will receive even less sympathy and understanding than his predecessors.  

Also, having read this quote from Capello – “I am very excited. We can do a lot and we have much to do. For me it is a great challenge and, of course, the main goal is to qualify for the World Cup” – I think it’s easy to tell his priorities are going to differ from the RFU’s. At 66 years old, where is the incentive for Capello to begin promoting younger players and building the new squad that Russia need to remain competitive up to 2018.

Another issue is that this Russia team will unquestionably be the worst side that Capello will have ever coached. Dmitry Simonov (Sport Express Columnist) recently wrote, “Capello has not worked before with; let’s face it, mediocre material. Each coach has a specialization: some build teams of gold, some of bricks and some, I’m sorry, of horse shit. I’m not sure that an elite chef who prepares perfect mussels and foie gras sauce will boil the water for half-rotten potatoes better than any canteen cook.” I think this quote demonstrates the reservations that exist over Capello’s knowledge of Russian football, as well as his motivation and ability to build for the future at such an important time.

Finally I think Capello’s personal reasons for taking the job have to be called into question. He says that this is a “great challenge” for him but even if let’s say he manages to superbly over-achieve with Russia and get them to quarters of the next World Cup – would that really be a satisfactory achievement for a coach who has achieved so much? I don’t want to judge him personally but I’m guessing the €10m a year salary may have a lot to do with this appointment.

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