Varhidi back in as Hungary coach in surprise move
( dpa ) - The Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) on Tuesday handed the reins of the national team back to Peter Varhidi, the interim coach whose contract ran out at the end of December.
"For a coach, being in charge of the national team is the peak of his career, so naturally I was very glad to be asked to take charge again," Varhidi told Nemzeti Sport after his re-appointment.
The decision came a surprise to most as the MLSZ was believed to have wanted to bring in a foreign coach, despite the earlier failure of German legend Lothar Matthaeus in the role.
However, MLSZ president Istvan Kisteleki said that he still wanted to bring foreign blood into the national set-up in the form of a development director.
Varhidi took charge at the end of 2006, halfway through Hungary's Euro 2008 qualification campaign and in the wake of an embarrassing defeat to Malta.
The national team won seven and lost seven under Varhidi, who ultimately failed to bring back the glory days of the 1950s, when Hungary, with Ferenc Puskas at the peak of his powers, were considered the greatest team in the world.
Hungary eventually finished second bottom in their qualifying group, ahead of only Malta.
However, Varhidi retained some popularity after leading Hungary to a 3-1 victory in a home friendly against Italy.
He now faces the challenge of raising the team's performance before a tough World Cup qualifying campaign.
Hungary must overcome Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Malta and Albania to reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.