Fabio Capello blames Russian league setup as he grapples to find World Cup squad

Head coach of the Russian National team Fabio Capello and Russian National Football team (Getty Images)

MOSCOW, May 15: Russia coach Fabio Capello has urged the country’s football bosses to toughen rules for foreigners playing in the domestic league as he grapples to find a team to play in FIFA World Cup 2014.

The 67-year-old, who took over in 2012, has complained of the very limited choice of players available to him as he prepares for next month’s tournament in Brazil.

“Of course we have a plan and we will try new approaches to solve the problem,” Capello said in an interview with Russia Today news agency on Thursday.

“I’ve asked that there be more limits on foreign players in the Premier League to force the clubs to use more local players,” said the Italian.

“We also need to expand the Premiership from 16 to 18 teams to get more Russian footballers involved in league matches.

“Besides, we need to apply the practice of using foreign players, who have expressed a desire to change their citizenship, to get the chance to play for the Russian team.

“Many European teams have been using this strategy. Why did Russia neglect this opportunity?” the former England manager added.

Capello, who has recently extended his contract until the end of the 2018 World Cup, which Russia will host, added that the language barrier has been his biggest problem.

“It’s difficult to work with players who are ignorant of foreign languages,” he said.

“Sometimes you need to cheer up the team, to get the players worked up. And I’m not completely confident that the interpreter is capable of reproducing my thoughts and emotions unchanged.”

Capello nevertheless expressed his confidence in Russia’s readiness for upcoming World Cup.

“The World Cup always puts huge pressure on the players and their coaches,” he said. “But we’re ready for it. We are strong-minded and braced for the event.”

Russia’s final 23-man squad will be named on June 2, ten days before the tournament gets underway.

Capello’s side have been drawn in Group H along with South Korea, Belgium and Algeria as they make their first appearance at the finals in 12 years.