Nantes Appoint Gourcuff As New Coach After Halilhodzic’s Resignation

Rennes’ French coach Christian Gourcuff looks on during the French L1 football match between Montpellier and Rennes, on October 28, 2017, at the La Mosson Stadium in Montpellier, southern France. SYLVAIN THOMAS / AFP

 

French Ligue 1 club Nantes said Thursday they had appointed Christian Gourcuff as coach in place of Vahid Halilhodzic, who quit last week.

“He is the coach I have been after for a long time,” Nantes owner Waldemar Kita said, describing 64-year-old Gourcuff as “one of the best coaches in the French game.”

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Gourcuff’s previous experience in Ligue 1 includes two stints with Rennes and Lorient. The former midfielder, whose playing career included spells at both clubs, also coached abroad, including a spell in charge of Algeria between 2014 and 2016.

Halilhodzic, 67, quit last week after just one season in charge marked by differences over strategy with Kita and the club’s directors.

AFP

ASAMOAH GYAN: Ghana Can Take On Anyone

asamoahAfter reaching the quarter -final of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan said his team is not afraid of any other.

Ghana pulled through after defeating South Africa 2-1 and will meet the Group D runners-up in the quarter-finals on Sunday evening.

Confident of his team’s performance, Gyan said “with this team we can take on anyone in this competition.”

The Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff said: “It was not easy to get out of this group,” as the team qualified as Group C runners-up.

Gyan scored Ghana’s late winner in their second game against Algeria which ultimately helped them finish top of the table on head-to-head record.

“I have played at five cups of nations, but this group was the hardest,” he added.

“We were very strong mentally, even after conceding the first goal. We kept believing and fought to the end knowing that we could win.”

Ghana manager Avram Grant said: “We deserve it because South Africa were not better than us.

Grant also said “We have finished first in the group of death, which is not bad.  After losing the first match we showed great attitude in the second and continued along the same lines today , we started the match very well with two or three good chances. We had the match in our hands. I am very happy that the players showed, just as in their last match, a good spirit and good attitude.”

 

AFCON: Algeria, Senegal Fight Back To Top ‘Group of Death’

AFCONAlgeria and Senegal made winning starts to their African Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaigns on Monday with dramatic come-from-behind victories in Group C.

Moussa Sow scored with the last kick of the game at the Estadio de Mongomo to see Senegal to a 2-1 win over Ghana while South Africa missed a penalty and scored an own goal as they allowed Algeria to fight back and win 3-1.

The victories left both Algeria and Senegal on course for a knockout place if they win their next group games on Friday.

Senegal were behind after just 13 minutes when their captain Bouna Coundoul brought down Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew converted the penalty.

But patient play allowed Senegal to take command in the second half as they out-muscled a Ghanaian side who had new coach Avram Grant in charge for the first time.

Mame Biriam Diouf grabbed the second half equaliser when he reacted quickest to a rebound before Senegal snatched the win deep in stoppage time.

A long upfield punt by Coundoul fell kindly for substitute Henri Saivet, whose crisp one-two with Diouf released Sow in the heart of the penalty box and the striker gave goalkeeper Razak Brimah no chance with a first-time shot into the far corner.

“We might have been behind at half-time but we always knew we had the potential to win the game,” said coach Alain Giresse.

South Africa coach Ephraim Mashaba declared the “best team lost” after watching his men squander an early lead and lose in front of a capacity 15,000-strong squad.

But that was unfair on the top-ranked Algerians, who finished strongly to confirm their status among the favourites.

Thuso Phala scored after a slick passing move for South Africa in the 51st minute and they then won a penalty just minutes later for a chance to go 2-0 ahead.

But Tokelo Rantie blasted his kick against the crossbar as a set of calamitous errors cost his side dearly.

Thulani Hlatshwayo mistimed a clearing header to concede an own goal in the 67th minute to allow Algeria back into the game. An innocuous-looking chip shaved the top of his head and beat goalkeeper Darren Keet.

Algeria were ahead four minutes later through as full back Faouzi Ghoulam scored from the right side in the 71st minute.

Islam Slimani made sure of the win with a third goal in the 82nd minute as the ball slipped under Keet’s body in another error from the South Africans.

“It was an intense game and it could have been catastrophic. But things turn quickly in football and we played well to come back and win,” said Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff.