FOOTBALL: Ribbeck takes over as German national coach

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THE FORMER Bayern Munich coach, Erich Ribbeck, is taking from Berti Vogts as coach to the German national side, the country's Football Federation announced yesterday. Ribbeck, 61, previously coached Kaiserslautern and Leverkusen as well as Bayern.

Ribbeck's assistant will be the former Real Madrid and Germany midfield player, Uli Stielike, who is now 44.

Meanwhile, Vogts not only lost his job as Germany's soccer coach but also his head. Police revealed that Vogts' head was missing from a monument in Moenchengladbach, where he played club soccer.

Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper claimed the monument had been vandalized after his resignation on Monday, but police said the head had been wobbly for some time and fell off two weeks ago when city workers came to look at it. It has been taken away for repairs.

The monument depicts Vogts and two other former players of the Borussia Monchengladbach glory days in the 1970s - Guenter Netzer and Herbert Wimmer.

The former Dutch national coach, Thijs Libregts, is to sign a four-year contract to coach Nigeria.

"Libregts will arrive here tonight to seal the deal and sign the contract papers on Thursday," said Abdulmumini Aminu, the head of the Nigerian Football Association said yesterday. No financial details were given. Last week Libregts, 57, said he would come to Nigeria to finalise the deal. He was approached last month to replace Serbian Bora Milutinovic, whose contract ended after the World Cup finals in July.

Aminu said he expected Libregts to take the national team to new heights, adding: "We believe in him, that he can do it."

As Olympic champions, much was expected from Nigeria at the World Cup but their campaign ended in the second round with a 4-1 defeat by Denmark. Aminu said Libregts' first assignment would be preparing the team for the 2000 African Cup of Nations in Zimbabwe. Nigeria face Burkina Faso on 4 October in their first qualifying match.

The Swedish Football Association have announced that no more international club matches will be held in Stockholm because of the high police costs of manning them.

"We give up. We have not made a formal decision yet but the mood in Stockholm is easy to interpret," Lagrell told the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. "It's a matter of politics and internal fights in the police core about money. There is a lot of grumbling."

Policing of last May's European Cup Winners' Cup final in Stockholm in which Chelsea beat VfB Stuttgart 1-0 cost police an estimated five million Swedish crowns (pounds 385,000), with about 1,000 police on duty.

About 13,000 British and 4,000 German fans descended on the Swedish capital for the Chelsea-Stuttgart match. Eight people were arrested in incidents before and after the game.

Police spokesman Claes Cassel said it was a cultural loss for Stockholm that international club matches would no longer be played in the city. "But as police I think it is good that we get rid of some of these problems," he said.

The Swedish FA will in future stage international club matches in Gothenburg on the west coast, but major internationals, such as last Saturday's European championship qualifier between Sweden and England, will still be held in Stockholm.