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Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Seychelles aiming high
Steve Vickers
BBC Sport in Harare

Zimbabwe's Benjani skips round a Seychelles' challenge.
The Seychelles have found international football tough going
With a population of just 80,000 and an African ranking of 48, the Seychelles find themselves in a David and Goliath situation in almost every match they play.

But the Indian Ocean islanders are aiming to join the ever-growing group of small African nations capable of causing an upset.

Although their recent 3-1 defeat to Zimbabwe in Harare put them out of contention for a place at the 2004 Nations Cup finals, it was a promising and plucky display.

The game was the first assignment for German coach Michael Nees, who began a two-year contract in February after taking over from Frenchman Dominque Barthenay.

I'm hoping to improve the team and maybe qualify for the 2006 Nations Cup
Coach Michael Nees
"The players have got a great attitude. They're open-minded and there are no problems with discipline," said Nees, who has worked in Japan as a coaching advisor and as an instructor for the German Football Federation.

"I'm hoping to improve the team, to play modern and attractive football, and maybe qualify for the 2006 Nations Cup."

Nees, who has not coached at national level before, will also be involved in instructing coaches and overseeing a youth development programme.

"There's not as much street football in Seychelles as in most African countries and clubs don't have a philosophy of developing their own youngsters.

German coach Michael Nees
Nees says the players have a great attitude
"I'm aiming to set up a good programme and structure. I'd also like to send a senior player to Europe or Asia."

While no Seychelles player has yet joined a club overseas, the team has a new addition in British-born Chris Dawson.

Dawson, whose mother is Seychellois, spent two years playing in Malaysia after a spell at Bolton Wanderers in England.

People adore football in Seychelles, and being such a small country the players are itching to get a chance to go and play abroad," said Dawson.

Zimbabwe march on
30 Mar 03  |  African
CAN qualifying Group 6
28 Feb 03  |  African

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