Former Argentina coach
Nestor Pekerman has been put in charge of Colombia's bid to end
a 16-year wait to reach the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.
Pekerman, who steered his country to the 2006 World Cup
quarter-finals in Germany, was named on Thursday to replaced
Leonel Alvarez, sacked following Colombia's 2-1 home defeat by
Argentina in their last qualifier in November.
"The Colombian Football Federation's (FCF) executive
committee, headed by its president Luis Bedoya, has reached an
agreement in the last few hours for Argentine Jose Nestor
Pekerman to become the new coach of the senior Colombia team," a
FCF statement said.
"In the coming hours we expect the definitive signing of the
contract that will link him to the national team that is taking
part in the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in
Colombia, who have not reached the World Cup finals since
1998 in France, began their 2014 campaign well with a 2-1 away
win over Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz in October but
Alvarez's team then dropped five points at home in a 1-1 draw
with Venezuela and the loss to Argentina.
Pekerman, a former Argentinos Juniors midfielder who ended
his playing career in Colombia with Independiente Medellin at
the age of 28 after a knee injury, made his name as coach of
Argentina's under-20 side winning three World Youth
championships between 1995 and 2001.
His 2006 Argentina side, which included Juan Roman Riquelme
as midfield general and a teenage Lionel Messi making
occasional appearances off the bench, lost on penalties to hosts
Germany after a 1-1 draw in their Berlin quarter-final.
Pekerman has coached at club level in Argentina, Chile and
Copa America holders Uruguay lead the South American World
Cup qualifying group jointly with Argentina and Venezuela on
seven points each.
Ecuador and Chile have six points, Colombia and Paraguay
four, Peru three and Bolivia one.
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