Cote d’Ivoire FA says Zahoui remains national team coach

The Elephants coach will be in charge of the team until the end of August according to the Ivorian football federation

Thought to have been ignored after the expiration of his contract in March, Cote d’Ivoire national team coach Francois Zahoui is still in command and will remain in that position until the end of August, the football federation vice-president Sory Diabate said on Saturday in Abidjan.

The 49-year-old former midfielder came under fire from officials, fans and some players after he failed to win the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, even after flawlessly leading the team to the final.

The football body has been contacted by a number of potential candidates, including former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson and Frenchman Bruno Metsu, but nothing filtered out of those discussions.

“Francois Zahoui’s contract with us is still valid and runs till end of August contrary to what you pressmen have been reporting,” Diabate said to reporters.

“I think we have to let the coach do his work peacefully and by the end of August we’ll invite him for a talk to see what will happen next, whether he will continue or not. We’ll be able to inform you by then,” he added.

The Elephants, who are still the number one team on the continent, will play a friendly match against Mali on May 27 in France, ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifying, set for early in June.

Cote d’Ivoire are drawn in Group C against Morocco, Gambia and Tanzania and will begin their campaign by hosting the Taifa Stars on June 2 in Abidjan before facing the Lions of the Atlas a week later in Marrakech.