Colombia coach Leonel
Alvarez was sacked on Tuesday after being in charge for only
three South American 2014 World Cup qualifiers including a home
defeat by Argentina.
"Unfortunately, we are ending the work contract with
professor Leonel Alvarez and we are starting a selection process
for a new coach," Colombian Football Federation (FCF) president
Luis Bedoya told reporters.
The 46-year-old Alvarez, a midfielder in Colombia's fine
team of the 1990s, had only been in the job since September when
he replaced Hernan Dario Gomez, who resigned after a hitting a
woman in a Bogota nightclub scandal.
Alvarez began with a 2-1 win over Bolivia in October at high
altitude in La Paz, never an easy venue for the visitors, but in
two home matches in Barranquilla in November Colombia were held
1-1 by Venezuela and lost 2-1 to Argentina, both times after
taking the lead.
Bedoya declined to reveal names of possible candidates nor
whether the FCF might consider employing a foreign coach, which
media and many fans have been clamouring for.
"We have made no decision. What we want is to look for a
coach who will give us guarantees and hopefully the experience
required for the qualifiers," he said.
FCF sources said there was no chance of Gomez being
reinstated as some members of the federation's executive
committee had proposed.
Gomez was the last coach to take Colombia to the World Cup
finals in France in 1998. Formerly he had been assistant to
Francisco Maturana, whose brilliant team anchored in midfield by
Alvarez played at the 1990 and 1994 tournaments.
They achieved a memorable 5-0 win over Argentina in Buenos
Aires in 1993 during the qualifying campaign which earned them
the tag of World Cup favourites that they failed to live up to
in the 1994 U.S. finals.
Colombia recalled Gomez, who had steered Ecuador to their
first World Cup finals in Asia in 2002, last year charging him
and his assistant Alvarez with ending the country's long wait
for another finals.
Alvarez, whose only previous head coaching job had been less
than two years at Independiente Medellin before joining Gomez
with the Colombia team, has paid for his inexperience and
His team took the lead against a lacklustre Argentina last
month but they failed to press home their advantage and Lionel
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