Brazil Clubs' Quickfire Attitude to Coaching Hinders Long-Term Planning

Robbie BlakeleySpecial to Bleacher ReportJuly 29, 2014

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MAY 29: Head coach Ney Franco of Flamengo during a match between Flamengo and Figueirense of Brasileirao Series A 2014 at Morumbi Stadium on May 29, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images)
Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images

On Sunday evening, Enderson Moreira was removed (link in Portuguese) from his post as Gremio coach following a disappointing start to the season. The club languish in mid-table, with just five wins from their opening 12 games in the Campeonato Brasileiro, the Brazilian national league.

Nothing wrong with that, you might think, for a club whose aspirations stretch to Copa Libertadores qualification and beyond. Except Moreira had only been in the job a matter of months and a handful of games in what can be considered genuine competition.

It is worth taking a look at his overall record with the Gaucho club. Out of 35 games he won 19, and Sunday's 3-2 reverse at the hands of Coritiba was only their third defeat in the Campeonato Brasileiro. Up until the weekend Gremio had the best defensive record in the league.

Having spent the early months of the year negotiating the tedious state championship, Moreira's real work started at the end of April. That was when the national competition kicked off, with nine rounds hurriedly jammed into the calendar before domestic football took a five-week hiatus for the World Cup.

Enderson Moreira was sacked by Gremio following Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Coritiba.
Enderson Moreira was sacked by Gremio following Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Coritiba.Lucas Uebel/Getty Images

So, what has Moreira really been judged on? Effectively, two months of work.

A few short weeks to get it right at one of Brazil's biggest clubs, following relative success at Goias last year. Surefire proof that, in the world of Brazilian club football, there is precious little room for error.

For this dismissal is not an isolated incident, the insane folly of an overly zealous club president and his board of directors. In this corner of the world, a few disappointing results doesn't just initiate whispers about job security.

It leaves you outside the door, P45 in hand, wondering how it went so wrong so fast.

Of the 20 clubs competing in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, only four have not changed coach in 2014. Only one manager has been in his current job for a full 12 months.

The idea that Arsene Wenger, who won a first trophy in nine years with Arsenal last May, would still be in a job in Brazil is laughable. But with those in charge of clubs so ready and willing to wield the axe, coaches cannot afford to plan for the long-term.

Arsene Wenger's nine trophyless seasons with Arsenal would not be allowed to happen in Brazil.
Arsene Wenger's nine trophyless seasons with Arsenal would not be allowed to happen in Brazil.Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The current longest serving boss is Marcelo Oliveira, who lifted the 2013 Brasileirao with Cruzeiro. Behind him is Sao Paulo's Muricy Ramalho, winner of four Brasileiro titles in the last eight seasons.

He has been back at the Morumbi, scene of three of those triumphs between 2006 and 2008, since September 9, 2013, closing in on his one-year anniversary. Two clubs, Criciuma and Flamengo, are already onto their third bosses of the year.

Former Brazil and Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo arrived for his fourth stint at Flamengo last week following the sacking of Ney Franco after only seven games in charge. Franco failed to win a single match and action was taken as Flamengo battle to retain their ever-present top-flight status; they have not been relegated in over 40 years of national league football in Brazil.

But Luxemburgo's return to the Rubro-Negro raises another issue. Just where are the young coaches in the country?

Vanderlei Luxemburgo returned to Flamengo last week for a fourth spell at the club.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo returned to Flamengo last week for a fourth spell at the club.Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images

Brazilian club football is stuck in a seemingly never ending managerial cycle, involving the same names at the same clubs. There is no change, no progress, no desire to put right what went wrong before.

Scan the league table and you invariably find coaches having two or three spells at the same club. Oswaldo de Oliveira started his second stint at Santos in December, three days after Abel Braga returned to Internacional for a fourth time.

Flamengo attempted to buck the trend last year when they appointed 1994 World Cup winner Jorginho. But he was sacked just 14 games into the bold experiment in favour of outgoing Brazil boss Mano Menezes.

Meanwhile, the rumours concerning who will take over at Gremio are in full swing. The noises coming out of the club are that the man who gets the job will be “experienced”, according to David Coimbra's blog (link in Portuguese).

Tite, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Celso Roth have all been linked to the position as the revolving door of mediocrity continues. For therein lies the problem; only the short-term is considered.

If a club deigned to plan for its long-term future and give a coach a few years to build, whilst not perhaps a legacy, but certainly a solid foundation, the benefits would outweigh the merry-go-round of dismissal and disappointment.

These clubs need to be built on concrete, not sand.