Noel Sanvicente, took over as the manager of the Venezuelan National Team in July 2015. Sanvicente is Venezuela most successful coach at the club level having won 7 titles in Venezuela Primera Division. The former national team forward turned manager also won 6 titles in the same division as a player. Due to this success many expected the manager to raise the team to new heights, but the opposite has happened. The team is 1-2-6 (W-L-D) and has a goal differential of -12 under Sanvicente. The difficulties continued this winter as drama and scandal distracted the team.
Last December, unrest amongst the players reportedly came to a head as 15 players released a statement saying they would quit unless Coach Sanvicente and other officials all stepped down. The story, which was picked up by ESPNFC, turned out to be a false report created by the administration and specifically the interim president Laureno Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who took over after previous president Rafael Esquivel was arrested due to this involvement in the FIFA Corruption scandal, is being accused of slander, and mistreatment. The players released a statement “”We accept criticism of our performances and, as a team, take responsibility for the results, but in no way do we accept that we were preparing a movement to get the national coach out,” the players said. “We are upset and disillusioned by the lack of support from the national team’s coaching staff over these accusations.” The drama that surrounded the team has definitely affected their performance on the pitch as they are currently in last place in CONMEBOL (The abbreviation translated to South America Football Confederation World Cup Qualification) and lost their most recent match to Chile 4-1.
Problems further for the team as many of the national team’s funds had to be depleted to help the economic crisis facing the nation. President Gonzalez said government run oil company PDVSA hasn’t made contributions to the team in months and the triple-digit inflation, and currency collapse have caused many other prominent sponsors to pull out.
In the Copa America, Venezuela is in a group with Copa heavyweights Uruguay and Mexico so their chances of advancing are already slim, but if the team continues to implode as drama, allegations and descent swirl their chances dwindle even further.
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“FVF Ratifica Continuidad De Noel “Chita” Sanvicente Con La Vinotinto.” Telesurtv.net. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.(Photo)
Gonzalez, Roger. “South American National Team’s Players to Quit Unless Coach Is Fired.” CBSSports.com. N.p., 1 Dec. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
News, AP. “Venezuela’s Economic Crisis Chokes National Soccer Team.” Venezuela’s Economic Crisis Chokes National Soccer Team. AP News, 19 Feb. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
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Venezuela, Margarita. “Venezuela Undaunted by Tough Copa America Group: Coach.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 15 May 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
How to cite this page: “Venezuela” Written by Ben Jackson (2016), Copa America Cententario 2016 Guide, Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/brazil/(accessed on (date)).