Ivory Coast federation backs coach Lamouchi

ROBBIE COREY-BOULET Associated Press Published:

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) -- Sabri Lamouchi will stay on as Ivory Coast coach despite the African Cup of Nations failure after he was backed by the national federation.

Lamouchi, a Frenchman, was asked to continue in his job by federation president Augustin Diallo, spokesman Eric Kacou told The Associated Press on Friday.

"The decision is that the present coach of the Elephants was confirmed by the president of the Ivorian Football Federation himself ... who decided to maintain the present coach in his position," Kacou said.

Lamouchi's position was under scrutiny after the pre-tournament favorite made a bitterly disappointing exit in the quarterfinals in South Africa at the hands of Nigeria last weekend.

Despite all of its top-class players, Ivory Coast still hasn't won the African title for over two decades. The team has lost two finals, a semifinal and two quarterfinals at the last five tournaments.

Lamouchi was a surprise choice for Ivory Coast coach when he was appointed in May last year, putting the former France international in charge of Africa's top-ranked team and its array of big-name players in his first job in management.

The 41-year-old Lamouchi was also backed by his players after Ivory Coast was upset 2-1 by Nigeria last weekend, extending the team's long and frustrating wait for a title.

"I feel I have done my job," Lamouchi said following his team's elimination. "It was not the result we wanted but that's part of the job. This is my first defeat in 10 games. It's a huge sadness. I thought we were on the right path ... but it was not enough."

Lamouchi also said resigning was "out of the question" for him.