2014 FIFA World Cup
Previous Clubs/Countries: Colombia U20s, Cortulua, Deportivo Cali, Deportivo Independiente Medellin, Colombia U17s, U20s, U21s, U23s, Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador
Brazil 2014 will be an historic World Cup for Colombia; in spite of the fact that their own national team is managed by an Argentine, three Colombian bosses will be at the World Cup. Jorge Luis Pinto of Costa Rica and Luis Fernando Suarez of Honduras are two; Ecuador manager Reinaldo Rueda is the third.
Rueda has managed as many national sides as clubs -- more, if we count all of the age levels of the Colombian set-up as separate jobs. Mid-table campaigns with Cortulua - who had just been promoted when he first took charge in 1994 -- were followed by an underwhelming spell at Deportivo Cali. At Independiente Medellin, he stayed for just four months before being offered a job in charge of Colombia's national youth systems in 2002.
Having already taken Colombia's under-20s to the World Youth Cup in 1993, Rueda had more success second time round, winning the prestigious Toulon Tournament, an annual competition for national youth teams in the French city, in 2000 and coming runners-up the following year. Taking charge of all of the youth ranks at once, his results were impressive enough for him to be offered responsibility fot the full national side in 2004, an offer he accepted.
When Rueda took over Colombia, they had just one point from four matches in the South American World Cup qualifiers for Germany 2006, so a fourth-place finish in that year's Copa America (held in Peru) was a step in the right direction. Although Colombia eventually failed to qualify for the World Cup, the fact that they were still in with a chance on the last day of the qualifiers was an achievement in itself, given their situation when he came in.
His next job was the national team job in Honduras -- who, coincidentally, are in Ecuador's group this time around, and are now managed by former Ecuador manager and Rueda's compatriot, Suarez. Honduras hadn't qualified for the World Cup since Spain '82, but Rueda led them successfully through the qualifiers for South Africa 2010. Though they finished bottom of a group including Spain, Chile and Switzerland, with their sole point coming in a 0-0 draw against the Swiss, new confidence has continued to course through Honduran football, and the side have managed two consecutive qualifications for the first time ever this year.
After leading Ecuador to a group-stage exit in the Copa America held in Argentina in 2011, Rueda has worked his magic again to bring them back from that disappointment and qualify them for Brazil 2014, with the side's form at home in the altitude of Quito a particular strength.
Strengths: Organisation. Rueda's sides are disciplined, and formed from tight-knit groups of players. With Ecuador, he's managed to draw fine performances from his wingers, Jefferson Montero on the left and Antonio Valencia on the right.
Weaknesses: Not the most tactically flexible of managers, he normally sets sides out either in a flat 4-4-2, or 4-2-3-1. If opponents can nullify those key wide men, it's hard to see where else a threat is going to come from.
Career high: Taking Honduras to the 2010 World Cup after they'd waited nearly three decades to return to the top table.
Career low: Ecuador's performances in the 2011 Copa America were woeful, and led to a lot of criticism back home.
Tactics: Using a flat back four and an emphasis on the pace and abilities of his two stellar wide men, Rueda's Ecuador aren't likely to spring many surprises in this regard. They're not dull to watch, but they're not particularly exciting, either.
Quotes: "We absolutely deserve this qualification, and will aim to compete in every match with decent football and hard work." Rueda's words to the press after Ecuador secured qualification for Brazil 2014.
Trivia: Rueda did his postgraduate degree in physical education at the University of Cologne in Germany, where he also completed his coaching badges. Rueda frequently travels to Europe to take coaching courses and update his qualifications.
Words: Sam Kelly and Nick Dorrington