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Colombia name youth team's Rueda as national coach



BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Colombia have appointed youth team coach Reinaldo Rueda to lead the struggling national side, the country's Football Federation (FCF) said on Friday.

Rueda, former coach of Colombian teams Tulua, Deportivo Cali and Independiente Medellin, was praised last year for leading the under-20s to third place at the world youth championship.

FCF president Oscar Astudillo announced his appointment at a news conference in Bogota.

The 46-year-old, known for his direct attacking style, has a tough road ahead of him since Colombia have taken just one point from their first four qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup.

However, he does have nearly two months before their next World Cup qualifier against Peru in Lima at the end of March.

Colombia, who qualified for the World Cup finals in 1990, 1994 and 1998 but missed out on South Korea and Japan in 2002, are bottom of the South American qualifying group.

They have lost at home to Venezuela and Brazil, been thrashed 4-0 in Bolivia and drawn 1-1 at home to Argentina.

The blame fell on former coach Francisco Maturana, who became the first victim of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers when the FCF sacked him late last year.

Maturana, a former dentist whose "touch-touch" coaching style relied on finesse, was largely credited with putting Colombian soccer on the map in the 1990s.

He steered his team to two World Cups in two stints as coach and is now in charge of Argentine provincial club Colon.
 
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