Fourteen months after he was hired to coach the Costa Rican national team, head coach Rodrigo Kenton was fired Monday by the Costa Rica Soccer Association (FEDEFUTBOL).
Murmurs of Kenton´s firing began last week, after Costa Rica dropped its third consecutive World Cup qualifying match, 1-0, to El Salvador. The Ticos, who won four of their first five games in World Cup qualifying, have lost their last three matches by a combined score of 8-0, including a 4-0 dismantling by Honduras in August and a 3-0 home loss to Mexico on Sept. 5.
At a press conference at FEDEFUTBOL Monday in Santa Ana, west of San José, Kenton sat with Costa Rican Soccer Association President Eduardo Li, who explained the reasoning for the coach´s release.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Kenton for all of the work he has done,” Li said. “But results are important, and we have not got the right ones over the course of our last three matches.”
Prior to the match with Honduras on Aug. 12, Costa Rica was in first place in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) region, though, with losses in their last three games, the Ticos have fallen to fourth place. The top three teams from CONCACAF will advance to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Currently the U.S., Mexico and Honduras hold the top three spots in the region. The fourth place team in the region plays a two-game playoff series against the fifth place team from the South American qualifying group, CONMEBOL. Perennial world soccer power Argentina is in fifth place in that group.
La Sele, the nickname for the Costa Rican team, has two games remaining in World Cup qualification. The Ticos will play Trinidad and Tobago, who is in last place in the group, on Oct. 10. They will play the group leader, the U.S., on Oct. 14. If they are to earn a top-three position, Costa Rica will most likely need to win both games and have some of the teams ahead of them lose their games.
Kenton won his first nine games as manager of La Sele and led the Ticos to a 15-2-3 record in his first 20 games. Kenton, who served two stints as an assistant coach prior to being appointed to the head coach job in June 2008, finishes with an overall record of 15-5-4.