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Robert Waseige




Credited with having turned Belgium around from a team of no-hopers only months ago into championship contenders.

The change of coach last summer from Georges Leekens, whose record was going from bad to atrocious, could not have been more complete.

Leekens, a man who could not make his mind up about preferred personnel or tactics, gave way to the experienced and decisive Wallonian (the first to be national coach) who, whatever the merits of his vision, took his side in one direction.

A disastrous France 98, followed by a spell of just two wins in 11 matches, was transformed into a passage under Waseige that included the 5-5 draw with The Netherlands that stood out for forgotten character and flair.

Waseige is nothing if not experienced. Approaching 30 years as a coach, his first appointment was with Winterslag, the third-division club where he finished his playing career. In two years the club had first-division status.

Spells at Liege, Charleroi, Standard Liege and Sporting Lisbon followed and on three occasions he has been voted Belgian manager of the year.

There are, though, those who criticise Waseige's obstinacy and unwillingness to consider anyone or anything that comes outside his vision.

That may cause problems in the future, but for now it is Belgium's greatest strength.



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