Wanchope steps down from Costa Rica post

Paulo Wanchope (pictured) resigned as head coach of Costa Rica on August 12, 2015. (Photo: Mexsport)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Paulo Wanchope resigned on Wednesday from his position as head coach of Costa Rica less than 24 hours after a physical altercation at the Estadio Maracana in Panama City, Panama.

In the moments following Costa Rica’s scoreless draw with Panama in a Central American Olympic qualifier, the 38-year-old -- who observed the match from the stands -- moved to enter the field.  As he attempted to open an access gate, a skirmish ensued with an unidentified individual.

"I want to send my apologies for the incident to everybody in Panama and, obviously, Costa Rica, also," said Wanchope, a Costa Rica national team legend as a player.  "I have always been characterized by defending the country and behaving myself in the best way.  We are human beings and react in the wrong way.  I don’t wish this plight on anyone.”

The former Derby County and Manchester City standout’s tenure in charge proved to be a short one.

Wanchope, an assistant to head coach Jorge Luis Pinto during Costa Rica’s historic to the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals, was initially handed the managerial reins on an interim basis last July once the Federación Costarricense de Fútbol and the Colombian did not reach a contractual agreement.

In September, Wanchope guided Costa Rica to the Central American Cup title, which also secured places in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.  He was not appointed to the post on a permanent basis until January 31.

With expectations high for last month’s Gold Cup, Costa Rica registered three opening-round draws to advance to the quarterfinals.  A 1-0 loss in extra time to Mexico, though, saw it fail to reach the competition’s semifinals for a third straight time.

No timeline has been announced to name a replacement.  Costa Rica is scheduled to play friendlies next month against Brazil (September 5) and Uruguay (September 8).