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28.11.2004 Football News

I almost reached agreement to manage Ghana - Troussier

By Reuters

MARSEILLE, France, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Frenchman Philippe Troussier, who signed a two-year contract as coach of Olympique Marseille on Saturday, said he had turned down offers to manage national teams so he could take the reins at the Ligue 1 club.

"If it was a question of money, I would not have come to Marseille," he said. "I was shortlisted to take over Scotland and I turned down an offer to coach Wales three weeks ago.

"The sporting aspect is the only thing I'm interested in," he told a news conference on Sunday.

A Wales spokesman said Troussier was one of three candidates interviewed for the manager's job given to John Toshack earlier this month but the Frenchman was not offered the post. The Scottish FA have denied that Troussier was on their shortlist. They are due to decide on a replacement for German Berti Vogts at a board meeting scheduled for Thursday. Troussier also said he almost reached agreement to manage Ghana and was in advanced talks with Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

"The only acceptable excuse I found not to hold to any commitment was to come to Marseille," he said on Sunday.

The 49-year-old Troussier made his reputation as a national team coach with Japan, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Qatar over the past 15 years but said being in charge of a club side would not make any difference.

"I have more than 200 international games behind me. I don't have any experience at European level, my experience is at world level," he said.

Known for his sometimes unconventional methods, Troussier has already decided to take his Marseille players to Normandy for two weeks to isolate them from local fan pressure.

Marseille, fifth in the Ligue 1 standings after their 3-1 victory over Nantes on Saturday, travel to Caen next weekend.

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