Ivory Coast name ‘big catch’ Wil­mots as coach

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast named Marc Wil­mots as their new coach on Tues­day, de­scrib­ing the for­mer Bel­gium boss as a “big catch.”

The 48-year-old, who was sacked by Bel­gium in July af­ter fail­ing to take their highly-rated team be­yond the Euro 2016 quar­ter-fi­nals, has re­placed French­man Michel Dus­suyer.

“The ap­point­ment of Marc Wil­mots is a big catch for the Ivo­rian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (FIF) who, de­spite the mod­esty of our re­sources, have man­aged to hire this world-renowned coach,” said the coun­try’s FA in a state­ment.

They said Wil­mots, who had signed a two-year con­tract, had been “se­duced by the fed­er­a­tion’s sport­ing project.”

The for­mer in­ter­na­tional mid­fielder be­came the tenth coach in the last 10 years to lead the team known as the Ele­phants who, like his Bel­gian side, have a rep­u­ta­tion for un­der-achiev­ing, de­spite win­ning the African Na­tions Cup in 2015.

Pre­vi­ous coaches in­clude Ger­man Uli Stielike, French­men Ger­ard Gili, Sabri Lamouchi, Herve Re­nard and Dus­suyer, Bos­nian Vahid Halil­hodzic, Swede Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son and Ivo­rians Ge­orges Koua­dio and Fran­cois Za­houi.

Dus­suyer re­signed af­ter his side were knocked out in the group stage in this year’s Na­tions Cup in Gabon.

How­ever, they are well-placed in the World Cup qual­i­fiers, lead­ing African group C with four points from two games.

Wil­mots took Bel­gium to the quar­ter-fi­nals of the last World Cup and to the top of Fifa’s world rank­ings with a team built around Chelsea’s Eden Haz­ard and Manch­ester City pair Vin­cent Kom­pany and Kevin De Bruyne.

Yet a clue­less and dis­jointed 3-1 de­feat to Wales in the Euro 2016 quar­ter-fi­nal left crit­ics call­ing for Wil­mots’ head and Bel­gian fans won­der­ing what hap­pened to the team that many had hoped would de­liver the coun­try’s first ma­jor tro­phy. Reuters

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