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Kohler turns down Ivory Coast over wife's safety fears

Written by: Staff

ABIDJAN, Aug 31 (Reuters) Former West Germany defender Juergen Kohler has turned down an offer to coach Ivory Coast because of his wife's concerns for safety in the war-divided West African state, FA officials said.

The Ivorian football federation said yesterday Kohler had signed a two-year deal with the intent of getting the team to the 2008 African Nations Cup finals, but the German pulled out at the last minute before putting pen to paper.

''At the last minute we were informed there were difficulties within the German coach's family which prevented him from coming, security reasons which had been raised by his wife,'' football federation vice-president Lambert Feh Kesse told reporters late yesterday.

''We're disappointed, we have to say, because we have gone through all the negotiations. Everything was agreed. A draft had been written and it remained only to sign it with a view to drawing up a proper contract,'' Kesse said.

''We will keep looking and by October 8, when we play our African Nations Group One qualifier against Gabon, a name will be announced,'' he added.

Ivory Coast has been split into a rebel-held north and government-controlled south since an attempted coup sparked a brief 2002-03 civil war.

Most fighting has stopped, but political demonstrations periodically bring the main city Abidjan to a standstill, sparking occasional bouts of street violence.

Frenchman Henri Michel quit as Ivory Coast coach after taking the team to the World Cup finals in June.

Kohler, who won the World Cup in 1990, was sacked as coach of MSV Duisburg in April.

Ivory Coast play a friendly against French Ligue 1 side Nice tomorrow after their scheduled opposition Djibouti pulled out of the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Reuters PDS VV2117

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