Monday, 03 December 2012 21:20
Sampaoli replaces the sacked Claudio Borghi after weeks of media speculation.
Chile’s National Association of Professional Soccer (ANFP) announced Monday that Jorge Sampaoli will take over the reins of the national soccer team, bringing an end to weeks of speculation about the vacant position. Sampaoli takes over as head coach of the team following the firing of Claudio Borghi last month after a string of five bad defeats which culminated in a 3-1 friendly loss to Serbia.
Speaking at a conference confirming his appointment Monday afternoon, Sampaoli spoke of his goals, elaborating the wish of the ANFP to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“It is a very important challenge and we will do it with great responsibility knowing that we have to take Chile to Brazil,” Sampaoli told the press, alongside ANFP directors and his new technical team. “We are very grateful for the chance.”
The new La Roja manager spoke of his willingness to welcome back players that seemed to have lost their way in the national team under Borghi, referring in particular to David Pizarro, Jorge Valdivia and his former goalkeeper at Universidad de Chile Johnny Herrera.
“All the players will be handled in the same way as the others. All doors will be open and (the players) will all be watched in the same way,” Sampaoli confirmed.
Sampaoli oversaw a very successful period during his time managing Universidad de Chile, guiding the team to three domestic league titles and winning the international Copa Sudamericana in 2011. His management of La U ended on a slightly sour note as his team was eliminated early from both the Copa Sudamericana and national Clausura playoffs.
With Sampaoli still contracted to Universidad de Chile until 2013, the club reportedly halved his buyout clause in the contract to US$500,000, allowing him to take the job as head of the national team.
Sampaoli, whose new contract will see him as manager until 2015, takes over from Borghi at a difficult time for the national team, which has slumped to five consecutive defeats. Two of those have been in friendlies, while, more importantly the other three have been in the South American World Cup Qualifying campaign, meaning Chile has slipped down to sixth in the table and outside of the qualification positions.
The new manager will look to change Borghi’s more conservative, defensive outlook and inject some much-needed confidence into the team, bringing with him a more attacking philosophy similar to the days of Chile under Marcelo Bielsa, the manager who took La Roja to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Chile faces Peru on March 22 and Uruguay on March 26 in the next round of matches for World Cup qualification.
By Tom Murphy (email@example.com)
Copyright 2012 - The Santiago Times