Jose Pekerman steps down as Colombia national team head coach
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The 69-year-old had been at the helm of Los Cafeteros for seven years.
The Colombia national football team was hit with a bombshell earlier today, when it was announced that the long-serving Jose Pekerman had left his position as head cpach of the team. Pekerman brought a lot of success to Colombia, but their underwhelming outing in the FIFA World Cup earlier this year could have convinced him to leave his post.
The former Independiente Medellin midfielder was the longest-serving manager in the Latin American nation's history, having been at the helm of the team for over seven years. The Argentinian manager was known for his offbeat experiments, but helped Colombia gain recognition after many years of failure. Pekerman helped Los Cafeteros qualify for their first FIFA World Cup in 16 years in 2014 and helped stars like Juan Cuadrado, Jefferson Lerma, and Juan Quintero come into the limelight.
He is also the most successful manager in Colombia’s history and helped them attain their best-ever World Cup finish in 2014. Colombia made it all the way to the quarterfinals, mostly thanks to the brilliance of James Rodriguez, who was made the focal point of their attack by the manager. Pekerman’s Colombia earned a reputation for playing some stunning football over the past few years thanks to their talented squad, but they couldn’t live up to expectations in Russia.
While Colombia did go on to top their group in the 2018 edition, they then lost to England after a penalty shootout in the Round of 16. The absence of Rodriguez for a major part of the tournament definitely hurt the Colombian team, who had a leaky defense and didn’t have the confidence which oozed off them back in 2014. Pekerman’s Colombia also won the FIFA Fairplay Award in 2014 for their graceful attitude throughout the tournament.
Under Pekerman, Colombia also had a great record in the Copa America in 2015 and 2016. They made it through to the quarterfinals of the tournament after a decade in 2015 and did one better by finishing in third place a year later. Pekerman also led Colombia to attaining their best-ever FIFA ranking, as they reached a high of world #3 on three separate occasions under the Argentine.
Colombian Football Federation President Ramon Jesarun seemed visibly upset at Pekerman’s decision to step down and said, "It hurts, but it's a personal decision and had nothing to do with money or Pascual Lezcano."
There have been rumors circulating about Pekerman being in the running to become the new coach of the Argentina national team, who recently sacked Jorge Sampaoli after a disastrous showing at the FIFA World Cup.
Published: Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:30 PM IST