Tite's key task to ensure Brazil make it to Russia

Tite at the Museum of Football at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio, after being named the new national coach. He had turned down the chance to coach the Olympic squad to focus on World Cup qualification.
Tite at the Museum of Football at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio, after being named the new national coach. He had turned down the chance to coach the Olympic squad to focus on World Cup qualification. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RIO DE JANEIRO • Former Corinthians manager Tite was unveiled as the new Brazil football coach on Monday, and he immediately said his priority was ensuring the five-time champions qualify for the 2018 World Cup Finals.

Brazil are currently outside the qualification spots for Russia and Tite was hired to ensure they do not lose their enviable record of having qualified for every World Cup since the tournament began in 1930.

"The focus is classification," Tite said, after his appointment was confirmed in Rio de Janeiro. "We are not in the classification zone. I think we are going to make it but we run an obvious risk.

"If we don't face that possibility we are running away from reality. I am here because we didn't get results."

With a third of the campaign over, Brazil currently sit sixth in the South American qualifying group.

They are away to second-placed Ecuador in September and then host Colombia. The top four teams qualify automatically for Russia and the fifth-placed side enter an inter-continental play-off. +

Tite, whose full name is Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, rejected a chance to coach the Olympic squad in order to focus on World Cup qualification.

  • 6th

  • Brazil's position in South American 2018 World Cup qualifying after a third of the campaign. The top four qualify automatically for Russia, while the fifth-placed team enter an inter-continental play-off.

Rio will host the Olympic Games in August and the hosts' Under-23 side, captained by Barcelona's Neymar, will seek to win the Olympic gold for the first time.

But the 55-year-old from southern Brazil said he was sufficiently concerned about the senior team's form to pass up that chance at glory.

"The priority is the national side and working to qualify," he said. "I need to make adjustments, get on top of the situation as soon as possible. These next two games and qualification are the priority."

The popular coach led Corinthians to two Serie A titles, the Copa Libertadores and the World Club Cup and has a reputation as a man who knows how to organise even limited sides.

But he will have his work cut out at the national team, who have lost their way in recent years and have not won a major tournament since the 2007 Copa America.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'Tite's key task to ensure Brazil make it to Russia'. Print Edition | Subscribe