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Bora to quit Honduras?


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Bora Milutinovic parts company with Honduras

1 July 2004

by AFP

Serbian Belivor 'Bora' Milutinovic resigned as coach of the Honduran national side on Wednesday. The announcement was made by the President of Fedefut, Rafael Callejas. The decision comes only weeks after Honduras qualified for the third round of CONCACAF qualifiers - scheduled to begin on 18 August - for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™.

Callejas released a statement by Bora explaining his decision: "After careful consideration, I have concluded that the best course of action, for the team, and for me in particular, is to step aside and make way for a new coach to be appointed by the Federation."

"The prevailing atmosphere, created by comments made by the country's managers, officials and press, have made it impossible for me to carry out my work here," the statement went on to say.

Callejas said: "Bora's resignation is a serious blow for Honduran football, but given the Federation's stated objective of leading the team to Germany 2006, we have no choice but to continue fighting and do everything in our power to get there."

Honduras qualified for the group stages of the region's qualifiers for Germany 2006 after their 4-0 second-leg win over the Netherlands Antilles on 18 June. The side had narrowly won the away leg 2-1 in the Antilles the week before.

The Hondurans Raúl Martínez Sambulá and Juan Carlos Espinoza will take over the coaching duties for the time being.

Callejas also stated that it was "essential to recognise the complicated situation that the resignation has led to, in terms of the management of the team."

"We'll keep going with optimism and faith and we'll take the appropriate measures (...). I would say to the fans, "we can still do it (qualify for Germany 2006), we have what it takes. Let's forget about our detractors who are not behind us and only get in our way. Let's build our own future," the President said.

Callejas announced that the Catrachos would be convening on 20 July for a series of preparation games against El Salvador, Cuba and Panama, before their FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Costa Rica on 18 August.

Unconfirmed reports had been ariving since last Sunday that Milutinovic - who is currently in Mexico - had resigned, allegedly because he felt the conditions under which he could work in Honduras, were no longer there.

Milutinovic had complained that the atmosphere in Honduras was not conducive to building a solid team; lacking, in his opinion, the necessary support needed to secure one of the region's slots for Germany 2006.

The Serbian-born coach claimed that he was treated almost as a "delinquent" in Honduras by virtue of the salary he earned and because the team managed just one win in their last nine friendlies.

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Milutinovic resigns as Honduras coach

TEGUCIGALPA, July 1 (Reuters) - Bora Milutinovic, the only man to have coached five different countries at the World Cup, has resigned from his job with Honduras, the president of the country's football federation said.

Rafael Callejas told reporters that the Serb, who took over last September, was disillusioned at the constant criticism of his work from the media and local coaches.

"He's decided to abandon the Honduran team," Callejas said at Tegucigalpa airport on Wednesday night after returning from Mexico, where he spent two days trying to convince Milutinovic to stay on.

Callejas read a message from Milutinovic which read: "The atmosphere created with the commentaries and declarations of coaches, directors and the Honduran media is not favourable for me to do my job."

Even the Catholic Church had criticised Callejas, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez saying that his salary, reported to be between $30,000 and $60,000 a month, was a slap in the face for the country's poor majority.

Honduras performed poorly in friendlies under Milutinovic but made a comfortable start to the World Cup qualifiers, beating Netherlands Antilles 6-2 over two legs last month to reach the second stage of CONCACAF'S marathon contest.

Milutinovic coached Mexico at the 1986 World Cup, Costa Rica in 1990, United States in 1994, Nigeria in 1998 and China in 2002.

He took Mexico to the quarter-finals, Costa Rica, United States and Nigeria to the last 16 and fell at the first hurdle with China after leading them to their first finals.

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