Firing Mano Menezes: Right attitude, wrong time
So Mano Menezes is out. It would not have been a surprise had it happened one year ago, after the failure at the Copa América, or even three months ago, when he failed to win the Olympics with a squad that was destined to win. The CBF decided instread to surprise us all: Mano was sacked right after the achievement of winning the Superclássico das Americas.
The wrong time. The decision came precisely at a moment that Mano could point to having a Brazil side in good form. The exchange of a centre-forward for a "false 9" gave the team a mobility not seen for a long time, and that made all the difference in the team’s way of playing. The traditional Mano’s 4-3-3 was abandoned and it looked like the coach had finally found a formation that could become victorious.
So why fire him now? Journalists in Brazil report that the sack of Mano is a political move. With the intention of winning the next CBF election, Jose Maria Marin (CBF president) has allied with Marco Polo Del Nero (vice-president) for the removal of Andres Sanches (National Team director) from the centre of power. Mano, who is Sanches’ friend, was just a pawn in this manoeuvering.
It may be true. Mano's resignation would only make sense if the CBF had already a good replacement for the position; they don't. It has already been confirmed that the successor's name will be revealed only in 2013. This shows total lack of planning - unless the substitute is Tite, from Corinthians, who has commitments at the Club World Cup in the middle of December. But, Tite would not be an improvement - his style is no different from Mano’s.
Other names speculated, such as Muricy Ramalho, Abel Braga and Luiz Felipe Scolari, just aren’t good enough. All of them have a lack of deep tactical knowledge. Here in Brazil, we call these guys “boleiros”. They are the kind of coach who can win championships based on motivation and trust in their players. It matters little that Felipão won the 2002 World Cup for Brazil playing with three central defenders; he won that tournament because he could count on Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. Brazil can no longer call upon players of this quality to decide a World Cup.
Follow Lucas on Twitter: @harris__