Eriksson to coach Ivory Coast

2010-03-29 07:39
Ivory Coast - Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed Sunday to lead Ivory Coast to the Soccer World Cup.

Souleymane Alex Bamba, a member of Ivory Coast's Football Federation (FIF), made the live announcement on national television exactly one month after FIF president Jacques Anouma fired the previous coach, Vahid Halilhodzic.

The FIF said Eriksson was chosen ahead of several other candidates as he is "an experienced coach who has proved himself" and who can ensure an "honorable" performance at the World Cup, which runs from June 11-July 11.

It wasn't clear if the 62-year-old Swede will be asked to stay on beyond the tournament.

Ivory Coast, led by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, are in Group G with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea at the World Cup.

Halilhodzic was sacked after a disappointing performance at the African Cup of Nations earlier this year, when the team lost in the quarter-finals to Algeria. Halilhodzic won 23 consecutive matches before the loss to Algeria.

Dutch coach Guus Hiddink had emerged as an early favorite to replace Halilhodzic, but an agreement was never reached with the Ivorian federation.

Eriksson took England to the last two World Cups and reached the quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006 - being knocked out by Brazil and Portugal, two teams in the same group as Ivory Coast this year - before ending his stint as the country's first foreign manager.

He had hoped to take Mexico to the World Cup but was fired in April 2009 after less than a year in the job. Eriksson won only four of nine World Cup qualifiers.

While less of a success at international level, Eriksson has won numerous titles in club football.

Eriksson won six trophies with Lazio between 1997 and 2000, including Serie A, the European Cup Winner's Cup and two Italian cups. He led Sweden's IFK Goteborg to the UEFA Cup in 1982.

He also won domestic cups with Benfica, AS Roma, Fiorentina and Sampdoria.

Eriksson was fired at Manchester City after taking charge for only one season, in 2007-08. He left his most recent job as director of football at English fourth-tier club Notts County in February after less than seven months.

Long regarded as one of the best teams in Africa, Ivory Coast was drawn in a particularly tough group at the 2006 World Cup, bowing out after finishing third behind the Netherlands and Argentina.

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