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Fri Apr 18 07:45:26 SAST 2014

Capello signs Russia deal

Sapa-AFP | 26 July, 2012 14:310 Comments
FC Zenit St. Petersburg v FC Amkar Perm - Premier League
Russia football coach Fabio Capello attends the Russian Premier League match between Zenit St. Petersburg and Amkar Perm at the Petrovsky Stadium on July 22, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Russia
Image by: Epsilon / Getty Images

Ex-England boss Fabio Capello vowed on Thursday to inject youth and vigour into Russia’s laboured performances as he signed on to head the squad with a mission of making the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The 66-year-old Italian signed the two-year deal in Moscow with the Russian Football Union for an undisclosed sum. News reports had said Capello was negotiating a two-year contract with the possibility of an extension.

“We are going to be carefully watching all our clubs and especially watching out for the performance of the young players,” Capello told reporters after signing the deal.

“Russia has great prospects and a tremendous amount of potential,” he said of a nation ranked 13 by the world football governing body FIFA.

Capello will pick a team in poor spirits after a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign that saw Russia fail to progress out of the group stage and become mired in scandal involving its talismanic captain Andrei Arshavin.

Calls for the midfielder to be stripped of his captaincy rang out across the media this summer after Arshavin was taped saying he saw no reason to apologise for the Euro performance and suggesting that players were happy to be going home.

Capello had firm words for Arshavin’s behaviour.

“I will talk to him and inquire where this lack of love for the fans — this lack of love for the Russian shirt — comes from,” Capello told reporters at a news conference where his comments in Italian were translated into Russian.

He also hinted of a new approach involving international recruits to the national squad who could assume Russian citizenship in a bid to help rejuvenate the veteran side.

“One should not forget that teams like Germany and Italy have players with dual nationalities,” Capello said.

“Spain has those players as well — and they are champions,” he said.

Capello will be taking with him a handful of Italian coaches as Russia continues a policy of looking abroad following the departure of Dutch manager Dick Advocaat.

“We do not have a specialist at Capello’s level in Russia,” Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday.

“No matter how painful or bitter this is to admit, it is true,” the minister said.

Capello will be on the touchline for the first time on August 15 when Russia play a friendly against Ivory Coast.

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