Basque Football Federation Announce May Friendly Against Panama, Javier Clemente Reportedly Accepts Offer to Become Manager

Ibai Gomez Euskadi

Ibai Gómez celebrates a goal with Euskadi Selekzioa (EFF)

The Basque National Team’s friendly against Venezuela in October was a massive success. Not only did Euskal Selekzioa win 4-2, there was a huge turnout of support at the Mendizorrotza which created a fantastic atmosphere. Two months later the Basque Football Federation voted in favor of applying for international recognition from FIFA and UEFA and now they already have their next game scheduled.

It was recently revealed that the Basque Federation, lead by President Luis María Elustono, had been in contact with several South American Selections about playing a friendly outside of Euskal Herria at the end of the season. Negotiations were at an advanced state with Panama and that game will now take place. Euskadiko Futbol Federakundea officially announced on Tuesday that they will be playing against Panama on 29 May at the Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama.

One issue that the Basque Federation has been facing is that of coaching. Back when Athletic Club and Real Sociedad were the only two teams in the Primera, Euskadi were led by a coach from both clubs working together. Mikel Etxarria has continued to represent La Real despite leaving the Anoeta a few years ago, but Athletic have always been represented by someone currently working for the club.

José María Amorrortu was the last Euskadi coach from Athletic, but he is no longer with the club after Rafa Alkorta became the new Sporting Director in December. There have been other conversations going on within the Federation to change the coaching situation altogether now that more Basque clubs are represented in La Liga. Nothing has been confirmed at this point, but sources in the Basque Country are reporting that former Athletic manager Javier Clemente has accepted an offer to become the manager of Euskadi.

Whatever decision is made regarding the coach, the match against Panama will be monumental. This will be the first game played by Euskal Selekzioa since the Federation announced that they will apply for international recognition. Also, considering that it will take place after the club season ends, it should allow for a very strong squad to be called up for the trip to Panama. The Basque Federation has been working very hard in preparation for the future and they are optimistic about taking the next steps.

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