Wednesday, January 7, 2015 11:13 am
Hosts Equatorial Guinea have named Esteban Becker as coach for this month’s African Nations Cup after moving him across from managing their women’s team, the country’s football federation said on Tuesday.
It is the first major appointment in men’s soccer for the 50-year-old Argentine, who worked with various lower league Spanish clubs before helping the Equatorial Guinea women’s team win the African championship in 2012.
Becker takes charge of the men’s side two weeks before they begin the tournament against Congo in Bata on Jan. 17. No details of his terms were given.
A change of leadership at the federation last month caused new president Andres Jorge Mbomio to fire coach Andoni Goikoetxea last week.
Mbomio had talks with Stephen Keshi, who coached Nigeria to the last African Nations Cup title in 2013, but he turned down the offer, Keshi told the French sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday.
Equatorial Guinea’s squad have been preparing for the tournament in Portugal since mid-December.
They were given a place in the 16-team tournament despite having been expelled from the qualifiers for using an ineligible player because the small oil-rich country stepped in two months ago as emergency hosts of the 16-team tournament.
Morocco was scheduled to host the event but was stripped of the right by the Confederation of African Football after seeking a postponement due to fears over the spread of the Ebola virus by visiting fans.