Pekerman's tenure as Colombia coach ends after almost seven years

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A man who has been in charge of the South American nation since 2012 is stepping down, with the 69-year-old being linked with the vacant Mexico post

Jose Pekerman has left his post as Colombia coach after transforming their international fortunes over the course of nearly seven years in charge.

Argentinian tactician Pekerman was appointed back in January 2012 during a turbulent period for Colombia, who at the time had not qualified for a World Cup since 1998.

Pekerman was Colombia's third coach in five months, as Hernan Dario Gomez resigned in August 2011 and his successor Leonel Alvarez only lasted until December.

But Pekerman had an instant impact and ultimately led Colombia to second place in South America's World Cup qualification campaign, securing a spot at Brazil 2014.

In Brazil, Colombia attracted acclaim from neutrals for their style of play and went as far as the quarter-finals – their best finish at a World Cup – before suffering a slender 2-1 defeat to the hosts.

Qualification for Russia 2018 was not quite so emphatic, but they did reach a second successive World Cup, ultimately losing on penalties to England in the last 16.

In a news conference on Tuesday, a visibly emotional Pekerman said: "I'll always check on how Colombia is getting on, not just in football but also as a country, as a people.

"I'll always be part of this country and I hope the success continues."

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The 69-year-old did not comment on what his future holds, though there have been suggestions Mexico are interested in the services of the former Toluca and Tigres coach following Juan Carlos Osorio's departure .

Colombia have not made any announcement regarding a successor, but Pekerman's decision comes at a potentially awkward moment given Osorio – the post-World Cup favourite to step into the role – was hired by Paraguay less than 24 hours earlier.

Gerardo Martino and Jorge Sampaoli – both former Argentina coaches, like Pekerman – have been touted as possible targets.

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