Kjetil Rekdal, the sometimes surly football star who went on to coach professionally, has found himself a new job back at Vålerenga, the Oslo club he coached for several years before leaving in a huff in 2006. Now he’s back, and was even smiling.
“I’m more mature now, I have more experience,” Rekdal said at a press conference Tuesday when Vålerenga could finally announce its replacement for Martin Andresen. Rekdal also claimed he now had “a more harmonious life,” which may mean he won’t seem so angry all the time.
Rekdal lost his last job as coach for the club in Ålesund at a time when many heads were rolling in professional football, both in Norway and abroad. It’s a tough game, both on and off the field, and Rekdal’s return marks his fifth coaching job at an age of 44. He’s also worked for Kaiserslautern and Lierse.
He’s played for Vålerenga, Hertha Berlin, Rennes, Molde, Lierse, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Fiksdal/Rekdal. He’s perhaps best known for scoring 17 goals for the national team over the course of 83 matches, including one in World Cup competition.
Now he says he also has “more competence,” which may help him meet the demands of Vålerenga’s famous supporters’ group known as Klanen. They want nothing less than a league championship and a return to the Champions League.
“Vålerenga needs him,” top Norwegian football official Kjetil Siem told newspaper Aftenposten on the phone from Cape Town, where Norway’s current national team was playing against South Africa’s squad. “His biggest asset is his clarity. He will make demands and do what he can to make sure the club succeeds.”
Rekdal’s old job at Ålesund, meanwhile, is being taken over by Jan Jönsson, who’d lost his head coach job at Rosenborg last month. Other candidates for the head coaching job at Vålerenga were Per Mathias Høgmo, who declined, and Ståle Solbakken, who was fired after just a few months at Wolverhampton in England. Rekdal, already wearing a Vålerenga jersey for his round of media appearances, takes over immediately.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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