MOSCOW: The Russian Football Union (RFU) unveiled Tuesday a star-studded list of candidates for the post of the country's national manager with names including Fabio Capello, Harry Redknapp as well as home talent.
The 13-man list includes the names of former England manager Capello and ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, Italian veteran Marcello Lippi and Argentinan national coach Marcelo Bielsa.
The list also contains the names of seven Russian coaches including Anatoly Byshovets, who led the then Soviet side to the 1988 Olympics gold medal, Valery Nepomnyashchy, who led Cameroon to the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals, and Russia's U-21 coach Nikolai Pisarev.
“The Russian Football Union plans to hold consultations on appointing the manager with the following specialists” it said in a short statement, giving no further details.
It is unclear whether all or any of the managers listed have expressed interest in the manager's job. Some of the foreign coaches appear hugely ambitious targets, given that the Russian team is going through a bad patch.
The new manager will be filling a post left vacant by the departure of Dutchman Dick Advocaat whose side were disappointingly knocked out of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine at the group stages.
However, some of the Russian coaches who were included in the list put the selection process in doubt, saying the list was so wide and ambitious it should not be taken seriously.
“It's the circus, nothing else,” said former Russian coach Valery Gazzaev, who is currently president of 1995 Russian champions Alania Vladikavkaz who just won promotion this season into the Russian top flight.
“It's just cannot be serious. There's nothing to comment.”
It's a good joke to put me into the candidates' list,” said the 68-year-old Nepomnyashchy who was last year coaching Tomsk, which was relegated in May.
Earlier this month Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the RFU will name a new national manager before July 20.
“The RFU will have to decide everything pretty soon,” Mutko said.
“They do not have much time as we need to name the new country's head coach before July 20, when the Russian league kicks off for the new season.
“The new manager will also need time to prepare the squad for a friendly with Ivory Coast on August 15 and the 2014 World Cup qualifiers with Northern Ireland and Israel.”
Advocaat announced he was stepping down even before the kick-off of Euro 2012 and then guided the team to a disastrous first round exit. He is now working at PSV Eindhoven.
The fiasco at Euro 2012 also forced RFU chief Sergei Fursenko to resign right after his return home from the European football extravaganza.