Cuba's German-born head coach Reinhold Fanz has stepped down from his post following the Caribbean's side's failure to reach the final round of North, Central American and Caribbean zone qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
"I have decided after meetings with Cuban FA members that I will no longer be the coach of the Cuban national team after failing to reach the World Cup in South Africa," the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss confirmed to FIFA.com on Tuesday. "I will, however, stay on as an advisor to the team."
The Cubans still have two games to go in their CONCACAF semi-final Group 1. But with zero points from their four games so far, they are mathematically eliminated from contention with only the top two teams from the three sections moving on to the final regional 'hexagonal.'
"I think my leaving is the right thing to do," added Fanz, who lost two players - Pedro Faife and forward Reynier Alcantara - when they defected hours before Cuba's 6-1 loss at the weekend to the USA in Washington DC. "Whenever I was away from Cuba there was no progress in the team. They need a boss who will be there all the time, to work consistently with them in training and continue the work I stared."
Fanz, who took over Cuban reins in January of 2008, still has faith in the footballing potential in Cuba, whose only appearance at a FIFA World Cup finals came in 1938. "I still believe that Cuba has a promising future in football," he said. "Things are developing step-by-step, and I am happy to have been a part of that development."
Cuba play Guatemala in Havana on Wednesday 15 October and finish their qualifying adventure next month against on the road in Trinidad and Tobago. Former coach Raul Gonzalez Triana will take over the team in a caretaker role.