Croatia coach Bilic keen to keep job

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic wants to stay in the job after his contract expires at the end of the 2010 World Cup campaign, local media reported on Friday.

Bilic has been linked with managerial roles at a host of clubs in the past year, including vacancies at Tottenham, West Ham, Sunderland, Portsmouth and Celtic - but turned them all down to remain in charge of his nation. The 41-year-old took over after the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany and led Croatia to Euro 2008 where they lost to Turkey in the quarter-finals.

"The idea to keep the job is nothing new. Why would I stay? Because I feel good and no one should hurry leaving the place where they feel good. This experience is priceless," Bilic was quoted by the Jutarnji List daily.

However, he admitted that it was not just up to him.

"There are circumstances which do have to fall in place. Besides qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa, we've yet to see if the FA wants me to stay," Bilic said.

Croatia FA President Vlatko Markovic told the online edition of sports daily Sportske Novosti that he had no doubts about Bilic's prospects to keep the job.

"I have no dilemma in that matter. Bilic will stay," he said.

Markovic said Bilic's future at the helm of the national team was not in question, even if Croatia did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

"Of course we will offer him a new contract. We cannot find a better coach, after all a number of European teams want to engage him. But, don't worry. We will qualify for South Africa," he added.