State of affairs search for new national coach Red Devils: deadline passed, little enthusiasm for Henry, no Preud’homme

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Last night at 11:59 p.m. the deadline for application letters/mails from candidate national coaches passed. Some interesting names have come forward to lead the Red Devils, but a technical director must also be appointed. If he still wants to look for a national coach, there is a hurry, because the first contacts will be made with the candidates from Friday.

Ludo Vandewalle

The football association issued a vacancy for a new national coach on December 13, twelve days after the disappointing elimination at the World Cup. Candidates had until last night to send or email their CV.

The Task Force that was set up with CEO Peter Bossaert, board members Sven Jaecques and Pierre Locht and external advisor Bart Verhaeghe will first look at the candidacies from today and decide in a meeting on Friday which potential national coaches will be approached. “A lot of applications have been received and there are some very interesting ones,” it sounds.

Names have not been leaked yet. What we do know is that the Frenchman Hervé Renard (54) is among the applicants. Renard was national coach of Saudi Arabia at the World Cup, which defeated the later world champion Argentina 1-2 in the first match, but ultimately did not make it to the second round. Renard is still under contract, but says he can get out of it. After three years in the oil state, the project has become more important to him than the money.

Little enthusiasm for Henry

Some Red Devils – just yesterday Loïs Openda – proposed to promote Thierry Henry (45) to national coach. The Frenchman was intermittently assistant to Roberto Martinez, who resigned after the World Cup. The Task Force wants to stick to the proposed plan and waits to see if Henry has submitted his candidacy. However, there is not much enthusiasm to make the 123-time French international head coach.

The name of Michel Preud’homme has already been mentioned. Alternately as national coach and as technical director, which the football association is also looking for. However, the almost 64-year-old ex-Red Devil would still prefer the job of national coach. However, Preud’homme has not submitted an application. Henry then informed informally that he likes the job.



More than six years ago, the football association also started looking for a successor for Marc Wilmots by posting a vacancy. Then three hundred candidatures ended up on the union, seventy of which were taken fairly seriously. There was an application from Louis van Gaal, but the Dutchman did not want to come for an interview. “They know me well enough,” he said. The question is whether Preud’homme and Henry share the same idea and would suffer too much loss of face if they were not appointed.

Martinez was interviewed in 2016 and was eventually chosen, also because he agreed with the relatively low salary of less than one million euros for national top coaches. The football association is less financially distressed today and can therefore offer more.

The RBFA also started looking for a Sports Director Elite Football, who will work alongside the Operational Director Football Jelle Schelstraete. That candidacy also had to reach the union before 10 January. If possible – but then his or her appointment must go very quickly – he will also be involved in the appointment of the new national coach.

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