Cameroon could turn to Matthäus after Le Guen's Cup disaster

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The Independent Football

Cameroon have begun the search for a new coach to replace Frenchman Paul Le Guen who stepped down after their worst-ever World Cup performance in South Africa, senior federation (Fecafoot) officials told state radio.

Although no official contact has yet been made, the Fecafoot president, Iya Mohammed, said Germany's most-capped player Lothar Matthäus and the former Ivory Coast coach, Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, were among the leading contenders.

"I've never met Lothar Matthäus but his candidature has been forwarded to us as well as that of former Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic and some 10 others," Iya said.

The 49-year-old Matthäus, who has 150 caps and was World Player of the Year in 1990, has coached several clubs in Europe and one in Brazil as well as Hungary's national team and managed the Israeli club Maccabi Netanya until the end of last season.

Halilhodzic, 57, played for Yugoslavia and has coached several clubs after starting out at Raja Casablanca including Paris St-Germain. He was sacked as the Ivory Coast coach in February after their African Cup of Nations quarter-final exit.

Iya added that the Cameroon soccer federation had begun a series of meetings this week to agree a profile which must be met by any candidate with emphasis on offering a long-term contract.

"Already, I think we need a new coach who will accept at least a four-year contract," Iya said. "We must end this series of recruiting coaches on short-term contracts and demanding immediate results. We need a trainer that will spend enough time with the players, know them and build a formidable, strong team."

Iya said he did no oppose the principle of recruiting a Cameroonian coach, although such a candidate would have to fit the profile set out and prove beyond all doubt that he could withstand the immense pressure that comes with the job.

"In our country, this job comes with a lot of pressure," Iya said. "I can tell you that even I come under strong pressure every day."

Fecafoot and ministry of sports sources have said the next coach must be "a man with a strong personality" in order "to withstand pressure from within and outside the team".

Cameroon put in a woeful performance at their sixth World Cup in South Africa and failed for the first time to earn a point as they went out at the group stage.

Le Guen was widely blamed for the early exit after a campaign marred by a bitter selection row with the coach and a failure to live up to their billing as Africa's best team.