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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 June, 2004, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Ivory Coast lose coach
By James Copnall
BBC West African football correspondent

Robert Nouzaret
Nouzaret brought Ouattara into the Ivorian coaching structure

Mama Ouattara, the assistant coach of the Ivorian national team, died in Paris after health complications on Saturday.

The 54-year-old passed away in the French capital after the conclusion of a training session ahead of Ivory Coast's World Cup qualifier away to Egypt on 20 June.

It is thought that Ouattara died of a heart attack, although this is yet to be confirmed by medical experts.

Ouattara was admired by the young players he encouraged through to the senior national team.

The departed coach was the right-hand man to Ivory Coast manager Henri Michel and also worked under Michel's predecessor Robert Nouzaret.

Nouzaret brought Ouattara into the national team set-up when he took over for his second spell in charge of Ivory Coast in 2002.

At the time Ouattara was appointed, he was unknown in his homeland as a coach, having learnt his trade in France.

However, he was famous in Ivory Coast as a player, where he represented both club side Stade d'Abidjan and the national team as a midfielder.

He also had a long club career in France, most notably with Montpellier, whom he helped into the top flight.

His relationship with Nouzaret began when the Frenchman coached him at the club.

Ouattara subsequently became the coach of Montpellier's reserve side.

After Nouzaret appointed him his assistant in 2002, he rapidly became a key figure within Ivorian coaching ranks.

He took the Ivorian junior team to second place at the 2003 African Youth Championship in Burkina Faso and subsequently led the team to the World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates.





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