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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Battle hotting up for France's coaching job

Battle hotting up for France's coaching job

July 08, 2004 20:34 IST
The French football federation has received 38 applications for the job of France's national coach but the shortlist is down to four or five names, an FFF spokesman said on Thursday.

No names were given and FFF chairman Claude Simonet has postponed the appointment of Jacques Santini's successor from Friday to Monday.

"The chairman wants to give himself more time for thought. He also wants to consult all branches of French soccer," the FFF spokesman said.

The new coach was to be named after a regular meeting of the FFF's board in Clermont-Ferrand, in the centre of France.

It now seems that discussions will take place during the board meeting and the FFF general assembly on Saturday.

The names on the shortlist are easy to identify from Simonet's schedule over the last days.

He had discussions with former French internationals Laurent Blanc and Jean Tigana during Euro 2004.

He met former England manager Glenn Hoddle and France under-21 coach Raumond Domenech on Wednesday and also had a telephone conversation with former Senegal coach Bruno Metsu.

Blanc and Tigana are regarded as the favourites but each of the five main contenders have their pros and cons.

The 38-year-old Blanc became a hero of French soccer after captaining France to victory at the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship.

He is said to have the support of his former team mates including Zinedine Zidane who said his international future depended on the choice of the new coach.

A stumbling block could be that he has no coaching experience, having ended his

playing career at Manchester United little more than a year ago.


Tigana won his place in French soccer's hall of fame as a leading member of the 1984 European champions.

Ten years older than Blanc, he has also been successful as a coach taking Monaco to the French league title in 1997 and steering English side Fulham to the premier league in 2001.

However, his two stints as a manager ended in acrimony and his legal battle with Fulham's chairman Mohammed Al Fayed will be settled before the high court in London in the Autumn.

Former defender Domenech was considered as a replacement for Roger Lemerre in 2002. He has an inside knowledge of the French federation and the support of the national technical direction (DTN) led by Aime Jacquet.

His failure to win any title since he was appointed as under-21 coach in 1993 could count against him, however.

The French federation said Simonet treated the application of Hoddle "with great respect" and the former England manager was quoted as saying that his meeting with the FFF chairman had led to a "good discussion".

"It's an honour to have been invited to the FFF's headquarters so quickly," he added.

Metsu took Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals but he admits being an outside candidate.

"My phone conversation with chairman Simonet was very friendly. He told me that the door was not closed but I had the feeling that it will be decided in favour of Blanc or Tigana," he was quoted as saying by sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday.

Jean-Paul Couret
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