Talk about instilling confidence in your team ...
Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halihodzic told reporters today that his Ivory Coast team is at best 'average'. The Bosnian trainer took charge of the Elephants in May and has won three and drawn three in his six games in charge.
Many people feel that after their showing at the 2006 World Cup and their semi-final run at the 2008 African Cup of Nations, the Ivory Coast is poised for big things.
Hold on a minute, says Halihodzic.
"This team is still fragile," he said at a news conference in Abidjan.
"Since I took up this job as manager and trainer, everywhere I go, I hear the same analysis, the same words: 'Ah, Vahid, you've got a super team'.
"And each time I say the same thing: 'I don't have a super team - perhaps there are some special players, but the team itself is still rather average.'
"You in the media, and above all the supporters, need to know that there are better teams than us - even in Africa."
Many still regard Ivory Coast as a side with the potential to make a real impact at the next World Cup in 2010.
To reach the finals, the Elephants must finish top of a qualifying group with Guinea, Burkina Faso and Malawi, which begins next March.
"Everyone is waiting with a lot of anticipation for this qualification," said Halihodzic.
"It'd be such a shame if this generation which has so much talent doesn't get to South Africa."Perhaps our greatest challenger could be ourselves. It's something exceptional for this generation, which has so much talent. For some players it'll be their last competition."
MY POV: This could be a cunning ploy, setting everyone's expectations low so the Elephants can surprise people on the Road to 2010.
Then again, telling your team they aren't better than the also-rans of the continent doesn't exactly inspire greatness, does it?
I don't know. This is a tricky balancing wire Halihodzic is trying to navigate ...
What do you think??