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Ivory Coast close on deal to appoint Guus Hiddink

By Paul Fletcher

Russia coach Guus Hiddink is wanted by Ivory Coast
Hiddink has coached at three World Cup finals

Ivory Coast are hopeful that Guus Hiddink will take charge of the Elephants at the World Cup this summer.

Dutchman Hiddink is contracted with Russia until 30 June and has signed a two-year contract to coach Turkey that starts in August.

But Ivory Coach football association (FIF) president Jacques Anouma told BBC Sport: "Guus is one of the people we have contacted about becoming coach.

"Probably in the middle of next week something will be concluded."

The Ivorians are looking for a coach after dismissing Vahid Halilhodzic, whose future had been in question after his team were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

Several prospective candidates have been contacted as the Ivory Coast search for a successor.

Russia failed to qualify for the World Cup after losing a play-off against Slovenia and Hiddink would have to negotiate an early release from his contract if he was to coach the Ivorians.


Hiddink has coached the Netherlands, South Korea and Australia at previous World Cups - and has admitted the interest from the Ivorians.

The 63-year-old told reporters in Holland: "I have some matters to resolve before I reach my decision."

Anouma was speaking at Loftus Road after his team lost 2-0 in a friendly against South Korea.

Several high-profile coaches were in attendance, including former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"Sven has not been contacted but there were a lot of coaches at Loftus Road for the match and some have contacted me," added Anouma.

"Of the three of four in contention to become the next coach, Guus is the person we want but we are still talking to him.

"Talks are on going but nothing has been decided."

The senior players have no influence on deciding who will become coach.

Ivory Coach football association president Jacques Anouma

Hiddink would only be available on a temporary basis before taking up his new role with Turkey, but Anouma said: "After the World Cup we will look for a coach to take us to the Africa Cup of Nations but the priority is the tournament in South Africa."

Anouma said that previous coaches had failed to get the best out of a generation of players widely regarded as the best in Ivory Coast's footballing history.

But he denied the influence of senior players such as Didier Drogba would influence the appointment of the new coach.

Hiddink, who managed Drogba at Chelsea last season, has hinted that the striker had asked the Dutchman on behalf of the players to accept the invitation.

But Anouma said: "The senior players have no influence on deciding who will become coach."

Ivory Coast have been drawn in a group with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea at the World Cup and face a tough task to qualify.

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see also
Hiddink ideal for Ivory Coast
04 Mar 10 |  African
Ivory Coast suffer South Korea defeat
03 Mar 10 |  African
Hiddink named new Turkey manager
17 Feb 10 |  Football
Halilhodzic sacked by Ivory Coast
28 Feb 10 |  African
Pressure mounts on Halilhodzic
23 Feb 10 |  African
Ivory Coast out of the Africa Cup
25 Jan 10 |  Sport
Elephants coach fears for Drogba
01 Jan 10 |  African
Romaric dropped by Ivory Coast
23 Dec 09 |  African
Brazil face tough World Cup group
04 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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