Football fans in Denmark reportedly were not at all thrilled that the new head coach of their men’s national football team will be a Norwegian. Åge Hareide, a former coach of his homelands own national team, said he was fully aware he wasn’t the Danes’ first choice.
“It doesn’t bother me,” said the 62-year-old Hareide, who coached his last match for Swedish football club Malmö earlier this week and suffered a crushing 8-0 loss to Real Madrid.
He’d otherwise done well at Malmö, though, and speculation had flown for weeks that he was in the running for the top job across the bridge in Copenhagen. Hareide’s appointment was finally confirmed on Thursday. He and the Danish football federation (Danmarks Fotballforbund) agreed on a two-year contract with an option to extend it by two years if things go well.
Hareide played football professionally for clubs Hødd and Molde in Norway before being recruited to Manchester City and Norwich in the early 1980s. He then went back to Molde, where he ended his playing career in 1987. He played in 50 national matches and scored five goals before starting his coaching career in 1985, also at Molde.
From there he moved on to Helsingborg, went back to Molde, then to Brøndby and Rosenborg before taking over as Norway’s national team coach from 2003 to 2008. He never matched the success of Norway’s legendary Egil “Drillo” Olsen, was replaced and resurfaced at Viking and then Malmö. He’ll take over as Danish head coach on March 1.