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Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 14:43 UK

Fifa boss Blatter criticises African coaching changes

Fifa president Sepp Blatter with the 2010 World Cup mascot Zakumi
Sepp Blatter has criticised African nations changing their coaches

Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has criticised African teams for changing coaches in the run-up to the World Cup.

Three of Africa's five World Cup teams have recently changed coaches.

"The talent of African players is at least as great as that of players from other countries, including Brazil and the Americas," he said.

"What is missing is tactics. But how can they have this if they change the coach a few months before the start of the biggest competition in the world?

"This continuity is missing because it is so important to feel the soul of the country where you are coaching, and how can you do this in a few months?"

Ivory Coast appointed former England and Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson at the end of last month, having one month earlier fired Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic.

Nigeria appointed Swede Lars Lagerback to replace Shaibu Amodu in February while South Africa named Carlos Alberto Parreira last October after firing fellow Brazilian Joel Santana.

Santana had himself replaced Parreira in April 2008 when the Brazilian World Cup winner quit for family reasons.

Blatter also predicted a bleak World Cup for the hosts unless they improve dramatically on Thursday's goalless draw with North Korea.

"If South Africa go on to play like they did against North Korea.....," said Blatter.

"If they want to progress in the competition, they will have to score goals. No goals, no going forward."

Blatter added that one of Fifa's priorities was to establish professional leagues on the continent to help stop the exodus of African players to Asia and Europe.

"The African teams have always been good competitors at the Club World championship and I'm waiting for an African team to get to the semi-final of the World Cup," he said.

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see also
Fifa wants Mandela at World Cup
23 Apr 10 |  African
Fifa boss predicts full stadiums
23 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
Nigeria appoint Lagerback as boss
27 Feb 10 |  African
Eriksson named Ivory Coast coach
29 Mar 10 |  African
South Africa reappoint Parreira
23 Oct 09 |  African

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