The search for a new coach for the Belgian national football team entered a new phase when the deadline for applications was reached on Tuesday, paving the way for the selection process to start.
That job has been entrusted to a Belgian Football Association (URBSFA) task force, consisting of CEO Peter Bossaert, directors Sven Jacques (Antwerp) and Pierre Locht (Standard), and Bart Verhaeghe (Club Brugge).
According to various media reports, the task force will meet on Friday to examine the applications.
In an ideal scenario, the new coach would be presented by the end of the month, giving him enough time to prepare for his baptism of fire, which will come on 24 March when he travels to Sweden for the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Former coach now training Portugal's national squad
The Devils have been drawn in a group that also includes Austria, Azerbaijan and Estonia. The first two qualify directly for the Euro. The last three qualifiers will be known after the play-offs organised on the basis of the results in the Nations League.
The Belgian Union has to find a successor to Roberto Martinez, who led the Red Devils for six and a half years, achieving the best result in Belgian football history with third place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Spaniard, who stepped down after Belgium’s first-round elimination from the World Cup in Qatar on 1 December, has already found work at the helm of a national team, Portugal, where he was introduced on Monday.
New technical director also being sought
The new coach has a big challenge ahead of him. The names of Italy’s Andrea Pirlo and France’s Herve Renard and Thierry Henry have circulated in the press in recent days as candidates for the job.
Henry, Martinez’s deputy, can count on the publicly voiced support of Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld and Lois Openda.
A new technical director also needs to be found, Martinez having combined the two roles from September 2018.