Benzarti to lead Tunisia at Nations Cup

TUNIS - Tunisia have appointed Faouzi Benzarti to take charge at next year's African Nations Cup finals after the dismissal of Portuguese coach Humberto Coelho, officials said on Thursday.

Benzarti, 59, agreed to the caretaker role for the tournament in Angola in January, his club Esperance said.

Coelho departs after Tunisia's failure to qualify for the World Cup finals in South Africa next year.

The north Africans had a two-point lead over Nigeria in their group going into last weekend's final round of matches but lost away in Mozambique on Saturday while Nigeria won in Kenya.

Tunisia qualified for the Nations Cup by virtue of finishing second in their group.

Benzarti was also a caretaker coach for Tunisia when they hosted the 1994 Nations Cup finals, coming in for their final group game after they had sensationally lost the opening match to Mali.

Benzarti was coach of Esperance when they won the African Champions Cup in 1994. He is currently in his fourth spell with the popular Tunis-based club.