FCZ separates from coach Franco Foda

The champion FCZ reacts to the weak start of the season and fires the coach Foda. The club is leaving the old impression of sobering and turbulent years again.

Released after eight Super League rounds: FCZ coach Franco Foda.

Valentin Flauraud / Keystone

“No,” said Ancillo Canepa, the president of FC Zurich, last Sunday, the coach was “not an issue”. And everyone knew that the coach, Franco Foda, had to be an issue after another setback after the cup defeat against the Challenge League club Lausanne-Sport.

And so it is hardly surprising what the FCZ reported on Wednesday morning: the separation from Foda, the termination of the contract, which has only been running for a few weeks and is still dated until the end of June 2024. Canepa is not to blame for changing his mind – that Foda has become “the issue”. If Canepa had publicly questioned the coach in Lausanne, he would have been accused of stabbing him in the back. Getting everything right is never easy.

And above all, it was not easy to settle the question of coaching before this season. Foda’s predecessor André Breitenreiter had led the FCZ to a high, which against today’s background seems much more unreal than last spring, when the FCZ floated to the championship title after a few disappointing years. After this coup, Breitenreiter moved to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga – and Foda, most recently Austrian national coach, followed in big footsteps.

Canepa and Jurendic seem to have lost deep trust in Foda

Foda was met with skepticism early on because he didn’t exude anything appealing to the outside world like Breitenreiter – which wouldn’t mean much if things were different internally. But apparently Foda wasn’t able to gain much support in the team either. After eight league games, the title holder has only scored two points, FCZ repeatedly built on the fact that the performances were not always too bad – and that at least they had made it into the group stage of the Europa League.

But across all competitions there have recently been six defeats in a row; three of those defeats came after crucial goals were conceded that not only came late but also seemed avoidable. The FCZ got into a footballing crisis situation in which it would have been negligent not to make the coach an issue – unless there was a deep and firm conviction that this coach is the right man in the right place. But Canepa and sports director Marinko Jurendic have apparently abandoned this belief.

The master coach Breitenreiter has set the bar high, also for the players

“I very much regret this separation,” says President Canepa in the FCZ communiqué – which is understandable with a view to Foda, who in his 20-year coaching career has never had to leave a club so early. In any case, he only had three employers before FCZ, Sturm Graz, 1. FC Kaiserslautern and the Austrian association.

And yet Foda and this team did not go together, this team that Canepa had considered even more promising than the champion team before the start of the season. But the master coach Breitenreiter had set the bar high, even with the players, who of course praised him highly after the title. It’s different in the case of Foda: it has been leaking out here and there for a long time that the players weren’t convinced of the new boss.

And so Canepa should regret the dismissal no less for himself, for the FCZ. The early separation gives the club back that sobering, sometimes turbulent years before the championship title, when FCZ tended to remain below the possibilities and above all below their own expectations. Last season and Breitenreiter’s election left the impression that FCZ had just made progress with coach scouting.

The most recent developments will lead to Breitenreiter being glorified even more – and suggest that the FCZ management has not simply grown a golden knack of choosing a coach, but: that they have once again misjudged, as with the appointments of the coaches Sami Hyypiä or Massimo Rizzo. Of course, the FCZ immediately gets the chance to do everything better. According to an official announcement, the club management wants to regulate the successor during the current national team break. FCZ will play their next game on Saturday, October 1 – the derby against GC.

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