Colombia apparently could not wait for too long to let their team without a head coach as they have just named their former boss’s assistant, Nestor Lorenzo as Reinaldo Rueda’s successor.
The appointment of 56-year old Argentine manager has been certainly surprising considering the fact that Colombia stated that they had not been in a rush while searching for the new boss and he was not even included in the candidates tipped by the media. Several well-known names with better experienced were touted before such as Marcelo Bielsa, the former Costa Rica boss Jose Luis Pinto, the ex-Mexico manager, Juan Carlos Osorio and Ramon Diaz. Apparently, none of them got hired.
Nestor Lorenzo was finally the one who was given a chance for the post. He has signed four-year contract to take Luis Diaz and Co to improve their form and campaign in Copa America 2024 and in the long term, seal one ticket to World Cup 2026 final round. His extensive experience as Jose Pekerman’s assistant while Pekerman was at the helm of Colombia in Brasil 2014 and Russia 2018 might be the decisive factor of his appointment.
Lorenzo made an statement during his first official press conference after being named by Colombia Football Federation (FCF).
"My philosophy is to respect the essence of Colombian football by playing attractively and having a winning mentality. I want to be a bit more aggressive, with higher intensity. Football changes, times change and methodologies change. You have to work hard, with humility, and in this way the boys are going to consolidate themselves."
He also added the possibility of relying on the team as a whole instead of counting on certain stars such as Luis Diaz, plus welcoming James Rodriguez's return after he is back in-form later.
"Diaz is having an exceptional run of form, but a group is not formed through one player. Each player has to contribute with his own qualities. I'm not worried about James right now. He needs to play [for club Al-Rayyan]. He won't stop being a good player because he's been sidelined for a month or two. He has an impressive pedigree and will always be considered for the national team as long as I'm around."
The former centre back spent most of his career as an assistant to Jose Pekerman after he hanged his boots. It all began when he was the backroom staff for Argentina U20 team in 2000-2001, when Javier Saviola and Co won their third world cup U20 trophy. After working for a year as the assistant of Leganes boss in 2003/04 season, he returned to work for Pekerman as he led Albiceleste between 2004 and 2006, including in World Cup 2006. Lorenzo even continued working as Pekerman’s assistant in MX League sides, Toluca and Tigres UANL plus Colombia national team from 2012 to 2019. His debut as a head coach only began in 2021 when he took charge of Peruvian club, Melgar. Lorenzo guided his team to the top of the table in Peruvian top flight after 15 games before he left the post.
During his playing years, Nestor Lorenzo once played for Bari and Swindon Town in Europe apart from having brief spells in San Lorenzo, Banfield, Ferrol Carril Oeste and Boca Juniors. His longest stint was in his first professional club, Argentinos Junior, where he stayed for four years. He earned 13 caps with Argentina and scored one goal in international fixtures. His most notable performance was in the final round of World Cup 1990. Lorenzo featured in three games, including the opening match against Cameroon and the final.