Football: World Cup - Simoes looks to home

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The Independent Online
THE JAMAICA coach Rene Simoes, who has lifted the Caribbean island from nowhere to the World Cup finals in just three years, now wants to coach Brazil.

Simoes, who has also had offers from Brazilian, English and Spanish clubs, believes that he is well placed to take over from the 66-year-old Zagallo when France 98 is over.

"The press in Brazil says I'll be the new coach for Brazil," Simoes said before his side's group finale yesterday against Japan. "That's number one on my list."

Despite his likely departure from the Jamaican coaching post, Simoes looks set to retain his links with the island, where he has cultivated something "much, much stronger than any sports relationship".

The 45-year-old plans to build a house for his son there and his second daughter has a Jamaican boyfriend.

After a 20-year professional coaching career, including stints with Brazil's under-20 and under-23 sides, Simoes was hired by Horace Burrell, the Jamaican Federation chief, as technical director in late 1994.

Frenchman Philippe Troussier yesterday ruled himself out of the running for the Sheffield Wednesday and Celtic managerial vacancies when he offered to continue as South Africa's coach.

Despite an outpouring of anger against the Frenchman for the team's first- round exit, Troussier made the surprise offer soon after the squad landed at Johannesburg International Airport.

A large contingent of police officers were present to prevent angry fans from attacking the unpopular coach, who is viewed in South Africa as arrogant, unfriendly and insulting.

He has been widely blamed for the team's poor display, which saw them finish third in Group C after two draws and an opening 3-0 defeat by France.

But the crowd of about 500 were well-behaved, despite some chants of "Down with Troussier" and placards calling for his sacking.

Troussier told them: "You can be proud. Many countries participate and come back with nothing. We came back with two very important points."

Troussier will hand a report on his version of events at the World Cup, likely to include internal disciplinary problems, to the South African Football Association.

Troussier's offer to stay on is unlikely to be accepted as officials have announced that they hope to have a new coach in place by July.

SAFA have received much criticism for not "controlling" Troussier. Several calls have been made for the association's executive to step down in the wake of the World Cup embarrassment.

Reports of bad behaviour by certain team members, which resulted in two players being sent home early for breaking a night-time curfew, are likely to top the agenda of SAFA's appraisal.

Major League Soccer's deputy commissioner, Sunil Gulati, said they had received inquiries for five players, with most interest in the defender Eddie Pope. "There have been seven-figure offers [dollars] from European clubs, two in Germany," he said.

Cobi Jones, the US winger, said: "I'd like to make a career in Europe. I've already played for Coventry and I'm currently having discussions with three German clubs."

Gulati said other clubs wanted the forward Brian McBride and the midfielders Frankie Hejduk and Brian Maisonneuve.

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