Vahid to Sven: it’ll be tough

Vahid Halilhodzic

Vahid Halilhodic, still smarting from being sacked after losing one competitive match in two years, has warned new coach Sven Goran Eriksson that things won’t be easier given the sort of in-fighting that ruined his team’s chances in the African Nations’ Cup in January. Vahid always used to say ‘I’ve got great players, but not a great team’, but perhaps having correctly identified the problem, he failed to find a solution. He lost his job, but many Ivorians and the players themselves have blamed unidentified ‘egos’ not pulling their weight. It’s also not clear that the attack on the Togo team also preoccupied several of the players. Vahid’s quoted as saying: ”I think the defeat against Algeria was good because it revealed these internal fractures. I had three or four months to heal the rift among the players and that was possible. A new coach can’t do that, because he will have only 20 days to prepare for the World Cup.”

What are these much discussed divisions? The Ivorian press are unusually silent – what happens on tour, stays on tour for sports reporters hoping to keep on side with the federation. The majority of the players come from the Asec Mimosas academy in Abidjan and perhaps the key fault-line seems to run here; the major players outside the group are Drogba, Kader Keita, Souleymane Bamba, Guy Demel. Keita, unusually, came from Africa Sports, Asec’s main rivals. The others started in France.

Sven does seem to have things stacked against him; lack of experience in Africa, lack of experience with any of the Ivorian players, lack of French, lack of time.

More info here:

Mirror: Eriksson warned he faces massive task with Ivory Coast

BBC: Vahid Halilhodzic reveals Ivory Coast divisions

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