Former England manager Fabio
Capello and ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola are among 13
high-profile candidates for the job of Russia coach, the Russian
Football Union (RFU) said on Tuesday.
The list also includes former Tottenham Hotspur manager
Harry Redknapp, ex-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, former Italy
coach Marcello Lippi and Argentine Marcelo Bielsa.
"The [RFU] officially would like to inform that it plans to
hold talks with these specialists about one of them becoming the
head coach of the Russian national team," the union said in a
short statement on its website.
Phil Smith, Redknapp's agent, said his client was open to
"Absolutely," Smith was quoted as saying by Russian media
when asked if Redknapp, sacked by the Spurs last month, would be
interested in taking the job.
"Would Harry have a problem coming to Russia? No. He's ready
to go and live in any country, especially as big as Russia. I
think such offer would definitely interest him if it came, but
so far, we haven't heard anything about it."
One name conspicuous by its absence was Manchester City's
Italian manager Roberto Mancini who agreed a new five-year
contract with the English Premier League champions on Monday.
On Monday, Russian media, quoting RFU and Sports Ministry
sources, said Mancini had agreed a four-year deal to become
Russia's new coach after officials found a "signed contract" in
the safe of former RFU chief Sergei Fursenko.
Fursenko, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir
Putin, quit his post last month.
The RFU was forced to reveal the names of the candidates
amid intense media speculation about the job, which became
vacant following Dutchman Dick Advocaat's departure after
Russia's failure to get past the group phase at Euro 2012.
Others on the RFU list are Russian, including Valery
Gazzayev, Anatoly Byshovets and Yuri Semin, who coached the
national team in the past but were sacked or quit following a
string of poor results.
Former CSKA Moscow boss Gazzayev and Valery Nepomnyashchy,
who led Cameroon to the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals, called
the selection process a joke.
"It's just a circus and I have no comment on it," Gazzayev
was quoted as saying by the Sovietsky Sport newspaper, while
68-year-old Nepomnyashchy said: "My name is on the list? Well,
it must be a good joke."
Local media and most soccer experts said, however, that a
Russian would be a long shot for the post, with Capello and
Guardiola seen as the early front-runners.
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