Football: Camacho lays down his terms for Spain job

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Spain

SPAIN'S HARD-PRESSED football federation has turned to Jose Antonio Camacho in its increasingly desperate effort to appoint a successor to Javier Clemente.

Camacho is the second man to be offered the post of national coach since the departure of Clemente, who left the job last week after a shocking 3-2 defeat to Cyprus in a European Championship qualifier.

The former Real Madrid defender and Espanyol coach has accepted the offer - but only on the condition that he can work free of interference.

The federation said last week any offer would be non-negotiable. It must now decide whether to go back on its word and accede to Camacho's demands - details of which were not made public - or refuse to budge and face embarrassment.

Camacho, who spent 16 seasons with Real Madrid and was capped 81 times by his country, left Espanyol in the summer to take charge at Real. He lasted only 22 days at the Bernabeu, though, walking out after a row over backroom staff.

The federation's first choice to succeed Clemente was Luis Aragones, the veteran coach who left Real Betis during the summer, saying he was retiring from football altogether. The most experienced coach in - he took charge of 611 Primera Division games - he said he was tempted by the offer but ultimately could not accept. It is believed that the imposition of Clemente's old coaching set-up was the stumbling block.

Argentina

MARCELO BIELSA, the successor to Jose Antonio Camacho as the coach of the Spanish club Espanyol, has, like Camacho at Real Madrid, quickly moved on.

Bielsa was appointed Argentina's national coach last week. He replaces Daniel Passarella, who quit after his team were knocked out of the World Cup quarter-finals.

Bielsa, who spent just two months with Espanyol, will coach Argentinia's senior team but will report to Jose Pekerman, who until recently was the youth and Under-21 coach but is now the technical director of all the national sides.

The Argentinian authorities hope Bielsa will be able to avoid the personality clashes which marred Passarella's authoritarian reign, in which he made plenty of enemies by imposing various rules, including bans on long hair, earrings and homosexuals.

The Buenos Aires media has speculated that one of Bielsa's first moves could be to call up the long-haired Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Redondo, who refused to play under Passarella.

Bielsa only played four matches in a short career as a professional footballer at the club side Newell's Old Boys. He has had more success as a coach, leading Newell's to the the championship in 1991 and 1992 and doing the same for Velez Sarsfield last season.

Colombia

LIKE THEIR South American rivals Argentina and Brazil, Colombia have appointed a new coach. Javier Alvarez, the coach of the provincial Colombian club Caldas, took over the national team last week.

"We have decided to risk a young man, who has clear ideas about football and has demonstrated that he has character," Alvaro Fina, the Colombian football federation president, said. Alvarez has caused a stir by leading unfashionable Caldas to the top of the Colombian league.

Alvarez, 40, was chosen ahead of the former national coach Francisco Maturana, who led Colombia to the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, as the successor Hernan Dario Gomez. Maturana is a candidate for the job of coach of Costa Rica.

Brazil

AFTER PROMISING supporters a refund if their team lost, Flamengo faced having to hand out a small fortune to more than 50,000 fans yesterday, after Sunday's 3-2 defeat by Portuguesa.

The club president, Kleber Leite, admitted he now had a massive logistical problem, but this is matched by his problems on the pitch after another bizarre weekend for Brazil's most popular club.

Leite made his unprecedented offer last week following a run of eight matches without a win in the league. If he thought things could only get better, he was wrong.

The team lost again, two Flamengo players were sent off, the general manager, Washington Rodrigues, ran on to the pitch to remonstrate with the referee - and the coach, Toninho Barroso, resigned after less than three weeks in charge.

Flamengo said last week that supporters who kept their tickets would be given refunds if Flamengo lost to Portuguesa. More than 52,000 turned up, compared with 791 for the previous home match - but many fans appeared not to be interested in refunds, though, as the terraces were strewn with torn-up tickets at the end.

Flamengo led 2-1 at one stage on Sunday, with Romario among the scorers, but fell apart when they had two players sent off, prompting Rodrigues to protest to the referee and Barroso to quit after failing to win any of his five games.

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