Swiss coach Jakob Kuhn must hope that when his players kick off the Euro 2008 tournament against the Czech Republic on June 7, this last chapter in his long career will prove a blaze of glory rather than a damp squib.
Kuhn — affectionately known by the diminutive “Kobi” — has managed the national side since 2001, helping Switzerland to qualify for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, where they reached the last 16 before going out on penalties to Ukraine having not conceded a goal in the tournament.
Kuhn, 64, announced back in 2006 that he would step down after Euro 2008 but insists he will be keeping his eye on the ball right up to the final whistle.
Despite losing to England and Germany in recent months Kuhn has said he believes the Swiss side has a real chance of qualifying from its group despite being pitted against better-placed sides Portugal, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
“It’s doable. I would never have said that had we had a similar draw to four years ago,” Kuhn said when the draw was announced last December.
He has insisted that his players act as role models both on and off the pitch, declaring that “honesty and courtesy have not become outdated.”