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Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 13:12 UK

Stielike 'surprised' by deal end

Uli Stielike
Stielike took over as coach of Ivory Coast in 2006

Former German international Uli Stielike said Ivory Coast's move not to renew his contract as coach has come as a total surprise.

"I don't know the reason why it's happened that's why I'm upset, they've left me in the dark," Stielike said.

Stielike guided the Elephants to this year's Africa Cup of Nations but missed the event in Ghana to be with his terminally-ill son, who later died.

The 53-year-old had his contract extended in February to 15 April.

"I had really good relations with the players, it was my dream to manage this Ivory Coast team to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup," he told Wednesday's Kolner Express.

I don't know the reason why it's happened that's why I'm upset, they've left me in the dark

Uli Stielike

Stielike's last match in charge of the Elephants was a 2-0 defeat by Tunisia in a friendly on 26 March.

"Since the friendly game against Tunisia (on March 26) I haven't spoken to anyone at the federation, it's very disappointing," said Stielike.

"The president (Jacques Anouma) would like to thank the coach for his achievements and wish him every success for the future," a spokesman for the Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) said.

Ben Wyatt - BBC World Service

Anouma has already met with former Monaco and Fulham coach Jean Tigana regarding the Frenchman's eligibility for the vacancy.

The federation have also promised that more talks are due with other parties.

Stielike, who has also coached the Swiss national side, was replaced by Frenchman Gerard Gili during the Nations Cup, where they were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual champions Egypt.

Stielike could now look for a move to Europe: "A job in the Spanish first division interests me. I speak the language perfectly, we'll see what happens in the coming four weeks," the former Real Madrid player said.

Stielike replaced Henri Michel in September 2006 after the Frenchman had guided the side to the Nations Cup final and their first ever World Cup finals, where they went out in the first round.

see also
Stielike returns for Ivory Coast
08 Mar 08 |  African
Stielike leaves Ivory Coast post
11 Jan 08 |  African
Ivory Coast plan Stielike talks
18 Jan 08 |  African
Stielike's son dies in Germany
01 Feb 08 |  African
Ivory Coast coach hails Drogba
04 Mar 07 |  African
Ivory Coast 1-4 Egypt
07 Feb 08 |  African

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