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Sven-Goran Eriksson raring to go as Ivory Coast coach

Sven Goran Eriksson
Eriksson was England coach from 2001 to 2006

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson will run the rule over his Ivory Coast players this week after being named as the team's new coach.

The Swede's appointment as new Ivory Coast coach was announced on Sunday but the side do not meet up until 22 May.

He is eager to start work and plans to head to Europe to watch the likes of Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Eboue, Salomon Kalou, Kolo and Yaya Toure.

"There is a lot of hard work ahead of me but I like that," he said.

"I am extremely happy and very excited. The Ivory Coast is a good football nation with a lot of good players - it couldn't be better."

The World Cup will be Eriksson's third, having guided England to the quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006, and he is confident he has a strong squad at his disposal.

"Didier Drogba is one of the best strikers in the world and he has showed that for many years now in the Premier League.

"There are other great players too including Eboue at Arsenal, Salomon Kalou, Kolo Toure - and his brother Yaya at Barcelona.

"The only problem is that we are not together until May 22 but that is the same for most of the teams.

"I am going to start travelling from tomorrow to see all the players around Europe and in the Ivory Coast too."

Eriksson replaces Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, who was sacked last month after the Elephants failed to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

Mark Hughes and former Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster had also been under consideration for the role after Guus Hiddink turned down the opportunity.

After Eriksson's appointment, a statement from the Ivorian football federation said: "He's an experienced coach who has proved himself.

"His objective is to ensure an honourable participation at the upcoming World Cup."

Ivory Coast, led by Chelsea striker Drogba, are drawn with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea in Group G at the World Cup in South Africa in June and July.

606: DEBATE

And Eriksson acknowledged that his new side had a tough task ahead when they arrive in South Africa.

He said: "We are in a difficult group and it will not be easy but I think the Ivory Coast with all their talents can get through it.

"That's the first target and we will have to work very hard for it.

"Brazil are one of the favourites and Portugal are one of the best teams in Europe.

"But there are six African countries in the World Cup, it is in Africa for the first time, and I am sure two or three will spring some big surprises and we have to make sure we are one of those that do.

"We should have lots of support and the tournament in South Africa should be very good for the whole continent and the game of football."

Eriksson was appointed by England in 2001 after a successful club management career in Europe, including an Italian championship win with Lazio in 2000.

The high point of his reign was the 5-1 win over Germany in the qualifiers for Japan and South Korea only months after he had taken over.

Since leaving England after the 2006 World Cup, he managed Manchester City and the Mexican national team and most recently was director of football at Notts County.

No details were given about the length of Eriksson's contract.



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see also
Halilhodzic sacked by Ivory Coast
28 Feb 10 |  African
Ivory Coast reveal Eriksson talks
07 Mar 10 |  African
Hiddink pulls out of Ivorian race
13 Mar 10 |  African


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