CAPE TOWN – Wow, from Chloorkop to Reykjavik! That’s the journey Mamelodi Sundowns head of technical Erik Hamren will be taking after being appointed as the new coach of World Cup finalists Iceland.
Hamren is a celebrated coach who was in charge of the Swedish national team from 2009 to 2016.
The 61-year-old first made his name in club football in his native Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and then hit the international scene as he qualified the Swedes for Euro 2012 and 2016.
He missed out on the 2014 World Cup, though, as Sweden lost to Portugal in a playoff.
After Sweden lost two and drew one at Euro 2016, Hamren stepped down from the post and re-emerged, surprisingly, at Masandawana at the beginning of this year.
But after being part of a triumphant Absa Premiership campaign, Hamren is ready for the big time again.
“Mamelodi Sundowns have announced that their Head of Technical, Erik Hamren has been released from his contract to take over as the national coach of Iceland, which participated in the Fifa World Cup in Russia,” the Brazilians posted on their Twitter account late on Monday night.
“The President of Mamelodi Sundowns, Dr Patrice Motsepe, the Board, Technical team, management and staff thank Erik Hamren, and wish him everything of the best in his new role.”
After Iceland’s dream of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time, their fairytale continued as they drew 1-1 against Argentina, before going down 2-0 to Nigeria and 2-1 to eventual runners-up Croatia.
But coach Heimir Hallgrimsson quit after the tournament following a five-year tenure.
Hamren’s immediate task would be to qualify Iceland for Euro 2020, as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.