Swede Lagerback has his task cut out in SA

Coach corner

Swede Lagerback has his task cut out in SA

Lars Lagerback

Parachuted in after Nigeria fired his predecessor Shaibu Amodu in early February, Lagerback will be coaching at his third successive World Cup, but in circumstances far removed from his previous two assignments.

His Scandinavian sensibilities are sure to be tested in the hurly burly of the animated Nigerian camp. Already since he took charge there has been a mini crisis over where the team would be based for the finals and he has had a government commission poring over the preparations.

It is the first overseas job for Lagerback, who came through the ranks of the Swedish football association, coaching first the junior teams and then the national B side.
Former Sweden coach Tommy Soderberg took him on as his assistant at the national team in 1998 and the pair began a joint coaching arrangement the following year.
After a miserable Euro 2000, where Sweden failed to survive the group stage, they qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Asia.

In Japan, Sweden topped a group featuring England, Nigeria and Argentina, only to exit in the second round after losing to upstarts Senegal on a golden goal.
The pattern repeated itself two years later at the European Championship in Portugal.
Soderberg then took over the under-21 side, leaving Lagerback to successfully take Sweden into the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.That was followed by qualification for Euro 2008 but elimination in the group phase. When Sweden failed to reach this year's World Cup finals, Lagerback resigned, leaving him free to take up a five-month contract with Nigeria.

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