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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ecuador's coach woes

As I read through the various internet outlets of Ecuador soccer I find myself saddened by the fact that we still lack a coach and, to complicate matters further, did not participating in Wednesday's FIFA date. I shudder at the thought of facing June's World Cup Qualifier without an established coach and at least 3 friendly games under our belt. The latest news is that former coach Hernan Dario "EL Bolillo" Gomez might take up the helm as soon as this week. Don't get me wrong... he was a great coach, alive with excitement and unafraid of playing outside the confines of the Atahualpa. And yet it seems as though our cycle of Colombian coaches has come to an end. Last year's defeats during the Copa America, international FIFA dates, and the all important qualifiers showed the limitations of this style of play and the evidence of its outdated nature. Losing at home to Venezuela at the beginning of qualifiers was anything short of a catastrophe. We can only hope that the result can be reversed by winning on their turf. The coach filling in the void currently (Sixto Vizuete) did an exemplary job with the U-18s and enjoyed a wonderful 5-1 thrashing of Peru in November for the 4th WCQ date. I feel he should keep the job a little longer, get some experience with a couple of friendlies and then evaluate where he stands in terms of the future of the national team. In any case, we should move forward and away from Colombian-style coaching and thus begin a new cycle that could take advantage of the considerable international experience of our veteran players and up and coming attackers like Caicedo and Benitez. The midfield needs a little more work but Mendez, Valencia and Ayovi are a good place to start. As for our defense... this is the most dangerous, most important part of our team. Where in the past we were known for great defensive players the likes of De La Cruz and Ivan Hurtado, these players are beginning to show their age and there should be a more cohesive group of players. New blood may be what's needed in this front. We'll leave that up to the next manager.

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