Former IR Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz was named the manager of Colombia on Thursday and the Portuguese tactician announced that he wants to lead Los Cafeteros on their path to becoming champions.
Queiroz moves to the South American nation after spending eight years with Iran helping Team Melli qualify for back-to-back FIFA World Cups. His last assignment with Iran saw them reach the semifinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
The coach, assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United from 2002 to 2003 and then again from 2004 to 2008, will replace Jose Pekerman who left the Colombia job in September after more than six years in charge.
— Selección Colombia (@FCFSeleccionCol) February 7, 2019
Talking about 69-year-old Pekerman who took Colombia to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup and also Round of 16 in the 2018 edition at Russia, Queiroz hailed the Argentine manager for improving the football in the country.
“Pekerman has left a fantastic legacy. But we are only just starting and this isn’t the time for questions. I don’t want to give you lots of answers because our work is only just beginning. That will come later. The path of champions starts this way,” Queiroz said as he was presented as the new Colombia boss.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) February 7, 2019
The former Real Madrid manager’s first major challenge with Colombia will be the 2019 Copa America in Brazil in June and Queiroz said that he will try his level best to help the national team achieve a great result in the continental championship.
“I can’t guarantee that. But I can ensure that we will put this shirt (lifts Colombia top) in its highest position possible. Everybody wants the same — to win. So it’s complicated,” he said.
Meanwhile, his first friendly will be up against familiar foes in Japan in an international friendly on March 22, Japan had knocked out Queiroz’s Iran from the Asian Cup with a 3-0 win in the semifinals.
AFC Asian Cup 2019: IR Iran 0-3 Japan – Genki Haraguchi (90+2′)
Queiroz said that he is yet to talk to Colombia players and expressed his interest to play one more fixture next month. “Everything starts with the players. They are the most important part of the project. So it’s important that everything is stable. My attention and respect must be with the current players,” he said.
“It’s way to early to talk about who is going to be in the squad. But [Colombian Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun] and I have an idea to start travelling soon in order to meet and talk to players. I would like to play two games in March. Nothing is confirmed yet but that is my intention to play a second friendly in March,” he added.
Colombia are pooled with Argentina, Asian Cup champions Qatar and Paraguay in Group B of Copa America scheduled to begin on June 14.