AFP Montevideo, Uruguay
Despite failing health the veteran coach Oscar Tabarez has signed a four-year contract extension to remain at the Uruguay helm until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the South American country’s football federation said yesterday.
Tabarez, who suffers from a nerve disorder that forces him to use crutches to walk, has been in charge of Uruguay since 2006. He was also the coach from 1988 to 1990 prior to that.
The 71-year-old has led Uruguay for 185 games, a record for any international coach.
He has also taken the country to four World Cups, another “record for a coach with a single national team,” said the federation.
Uruguay reached the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the quarter-finals in Russia earlier this year.
In 2011, Tabarez led them to the Copa America crown in neighbouring Argentina.
Tabarez’s spell in charge has coincided with a golden generation of Uruguayan players, notably strikers Luis Suarez of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani, as well as the now-retired Diego Forlan before that.
The announcement comes at the end of a trying few weeks for the Uruguayan federation following the sudden resignation of Wilmar Valdez as president in July, one day before he was due to stand for re-election, due to some compromising audio recordings.
That plunged the federation into chaos and led football’s world governing body, FIFA to take over its running a month ago.
The continued stability of Tabarez’s leadership of the team presents is widely seen as a welcome boon for Uruguayan football.
Tabarez’s next matches in charge will be October friendlies against Japan and South Korea.
He previously coached AC Milan and Cagliari in Italy while in South America he led giants Boca Juniors to the Argentine Apertura title in 1992 and Uruguayans Penarol to their last Copa Libertadores success in 1987.
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