Rodrigo Kenton has paid the price for Costa Rica's poor recent form in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying. The Central American nation's FA announced the boss's dismissal at a press conference on Monday in San Jose.
The coach, formerly a national team assistant and successful youth manager, took over the country's top post in June of 2008. He brought about a much-heralded revival after the disastrous reign of Hernan Medford nearly saw the Ticos eliminated from South Africa 2010 contention in the preliminary rounds at the hands of lowly Grenada.
However, after Kenton - a former player with local club giants Deportivo Saprissa - led the side to a first-place finish in the semi-final round, fortunes shifted in the final 'hexagonal.' After leading the six-team group for a large chunk of the campaign, the Costa Ricans - who have reached the last two FIFA World Cup finals and three overall - dropped their last three games, falling into the precarious fourth-place position with two matchdays to go.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Kenton for all of the work he has done. But results are important, and we have not got the right ones over the course of our last three matches.
If the Ticos miss out on one of the three top spots in the North, Central America and Caribbean Zone, they could face a play-off with South America's fifth-place finisher, a daunting proposition which might pit them against the likes of Argentina, Ecuador or Colombia.
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Kenton for all of the work he has done," said FEDEFUT (Costa Rica's FA) President Eduardo Li to members of the media on Monday. "But results are important, and we have not got the right ones over the course of our last three matches."
The dramatic implosion of the Costa Rican side, which Kenton had revived by calling on youngsters like Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz, has been nothing short of devastating. They lost their last three qualifying games to Mexico (at home in San Jose), Honduras and El Salvador, conceding eight goals and scoring none.
The announcement of a new coach is expected in the next few days, with the next game - at home to eliminated Trinidad and Tobago - coming on 10 October. Costa Rica round out their account away against USA four days later.