Task force examines bids received for replacement Red Devils coach
The search for a new coach for the Belgian national football team entered a new phase when the application deadline was reached on Tuesday, paving the way for the selection process.
That job has been entrusted to a working group of the Belgian Football Association (URBSFA), consisting of CEO Peter Bossaert, directors Sven Jacques (Antwerp) and Pierre Locht (Standard), and Bart Verhaeghe (Club Brugge).
According to various media, the working group will meet on Friday to examine the candidatures.
In an ideal scenario, the new coach will be introduced at the end of this month, giving him enough time to prepare for his baptism by fire, which will take place on 24 March when he travels to Sweden for the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The Devils are placed in a group including Austria, Azerbaijan and Estonia. The first two qualify directly for the European Championship. The final three qualifiers will be known after the playoffs, based on the Nations League results.
The Belgian federation must find a successor to Roberto Martinez, who led the Red Devils for six and a half years and achieved the best result in Belgian football history with third place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Spaniard, who stepped down after Belgium's elimination in the first round of the World Cup in Qatar on 1 December, has already found work at the helm of a national team, Portugal, where he was introduced on Monday. The names of Andrea Pirlo and Herve Renard were already circulating as possible successors to Martinez.
Belgian media also mentioned assistant national coach Thierry Henry as a possible candidate. Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld and Loïs Openda already see in him the ideal successor. However, Henry says he has not sent in his CV.
"I want to make it clear that I never contacted the Belgian Football Federation to offer my services as national coach, contrary to what has been written in the media," Henry told Sky Sports. "It is important that the truth is told."
A new technical director must also be found, Martinez having combined the two roles from September 2018.
© BELGA PHOTO Virginie Lefour