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Westerhof leads coach race

Dutchman Clemence Westerhof leads the race for the post of the National football coach after the AIFF shortlisted four candidates on Saturday.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 02:14 IST

Dutchman Clemence Westerhof leads the race for the post of the National football coach after the AIFF shortlisted four candidates on Saturday.

Following Syed Nayeemuddin's sacking in March, the AIFF had decided to appoint a foreign coach earlier this month. The list was pruned by the AIFF Technical Committee, consisting of vice-president CR Viswanathan, Inder Singh, Mohammed Habib, Henry Menezes, Pradip Choudhury and AG Naguendra.

England's Bob Houghton, former Chelsea coach Ian Porterfield and Ireland's Brian Kerr are the other names in the fray. Fluency in English and familiarity with Asian conditions were the criteria. Though the candidates have been asked to appear for an interview on May 24, it wasn't clear whether all four would be able to make it.

"We had initially decided on the interviews for May 24 and 25, but though two of them have confirmed their presence by then, we will only know by Monday morning when all four would be able to come," said AIFF secretary Alberto Colaco.

The fight, however, may be down to two — Westerhof and Houghton. Westerhof has the best credentials on the international scene, getting Nigeria to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in 1994. He also coached Zimbabwe and South Africa. The 58-year-old Houghton coached Swedish club Malmo to the European Cup final in 1980, was associated with top Saudi Arabia club Al-Ittihad and then the Chinese National team from 1997 to 2000.

First Published: May 21, 2006 02:14 IST