Pekerman steps down as Colombia coach

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-05 06:46:19|Editor: Yang Yi
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BOGOTA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Jose Pekerman has resigned as Colombia coach after a record-breaking six-and-a-half year spell in charge of the South American team.

The 69-year-old Argentine informed officials of his decision during a meeting at the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) headquarters in Bogota on Tuesday.

"The coach expressed his desire not to continue as the head of the national side," the FCF said in a statement. "We at the FCF are proud to have counted on the coach, who qualified us for the World Cups in Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018."

The decision came two months after Colombia were eliminated by England on penalties in the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia.

Pekerman, who was appointed Colombia's coach in January 2012, is the country's longest serving national team manager. His 78-match stewardship included 42 victories, 20 draws and 16 defeats.

Among his achievements was a quarterfinal place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country's best ever result in football's biggest international tournament.

"I want to thank everybody," Pekerman told a news conference later on Tuesday. "I wish (the team) the best of luck. I will always have an eye on Colombia, in football and as a country."

Pekerman denied reports linking him to Argentina's vacant coaching position.

"I don't offer myself to anybody. I waited until my contract ended (on Aug. 31) and haven't spoken with other national teams. My assistant doesn't take calls from anybody," he added.

Colombia will be led by interim coach Arturo Reyes for friendlies against Venezuela in Miami on September 7 and Argentina in New Jersey four days later.