The Costa Rican Soccer Association (FEDEFUTBOL) named René Simoes the new coach of the Costa Rican national soccer team on Wednesday. The hiring of Simoes came two days after the firing of Rodrigo Kenton, who was removed on Monday after 14 months as coach of La Sele, Costa Rica’s national soccer team.
Simoes, who is Brazilian, coached Jamaica to its first-ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998. He also coached the women’s Brazilian team to a Silver medal in the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. He has since continued to coach in both Brazil and Jamaica.
“With much courage, we will do all that is possible to give Costa Rica a strong enough group to be able to qualify for the World Cup,” Simoes said Wendesday evening.
Murmurs of Kenton’s impending dismissal 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, 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.
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. But, 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. The fourth-place team in the region will participate in 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.
Simoes will coach La Sele in their final two games remaining in World Cup qualification.
The Ticos will play Trinidad and Tobago, occupying 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 topthree position, Costa Rica most likely will need to win both games and have some of the teams ahead of them lose their games.