Lamouchi excited over Ivory Coast job
French coach Sabri Lamouchi said on Thursday he was delighted to start his coaching career with a classy team as the Ivory Coast, adding he will do his best to guide this ’exceptional generation’ to win a title.
“Ivory Coast are a classy team. They are the best team in the continent. It will be a great challenge,” Sabri Lamouchi told French magazine France Football on Thursday.
‘’ When they offered me the job, I was surprised but I cannot refuse such opportunity,’’ he added.
Lamouchi, who has never coached at the international level, was named on Monday as Ivory Coast new coach in succession of Francois Zahoui who was sacked last week after the Elephants’ failure to win the title of the last edition of the African Cup of Nations when they lost the final to Zambia on penalties.
The 40-year-old coach, who will be in charge on Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Tanzania, voiced confidence in the strength of the Ivoirian’s squad chosen by his predecessor Zahoui.
“My predecessor has called up the squad for the upcoming two games but I am confident in the strength of the Ivorian squad. For me the most difficult thing is how to choose the starting line-up from this talented squad,’’ Lamouchi explained.
Optimistic about the team’s future, Lamouchi revealed that he looks to help the Elephants ‘primary’ to qualify for the next edition of the African Cup of Nations and to the 2014 World Cup, but he confirmed that his big target is to guide the Elephants to win a title.
‘’ We look to reserve a place in the African Cup of Nations and the world Cup but, personally, I hope to guide the Ivory Coast for a title because the register of this exceptional generation is unfortunately empty,’’ he concluded.
Despite having an exceptional generation which includes Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalu, Kolo Toure and other talented players, the Ivory Coast failed to clinch the African title during the past eight years.
In 2006 they lost the final to Egypt; two years later they exited the continental competition after losing to Egypt also on the semi-finals.
In 2010 they were bizarrely eliminated from the quarter-final after losing to Algeria, but the greatest surprise came in the last edition when they lost the final on penalties to the under-dog Zambia.
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