Ivory Coast give Hallihodzic heave-ho

ABIDJAN - Ousted Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic has slammed his sacking as being politically motivated and nothing to do with his performance in charge of the west African side.

The Bosnian's future had been the subject of intense debate after the side were eliminated in the quarter-finals of last month's African Nations Cup in Angola, leading to calls for Halihodzic's dismissal from the public and the media.

Halilhodzic failed to travel to Sun City in South Africa last week for the pre-World Cup workshop for coaches and soccer federation president Jacques Anouma confirmed the sacking during a television debate on Saturday to discuss performances.

"It's terrible, I'm disgusted. I lose one game in 24 matches and now I have been sacrificed. It's purely political," he told French newspaper L'Equipe on Sunday.

Halilhodzic added he had only been informed of his dismissal by fax on Saturday.

Anouma said the successor would be named within 10 days, with Guus Hiddink installed as favourite to take over on a short-term contract before the Dutchman becomes Turkey boss on August 1, according to Ivorian press reports.

The Ivorians travel to London for a friendly with South Korea on Wednesday and the federation have named a squad but not indicated who will take charge of the team.

At the World Cup finals in South Africa later this year, the Ivory Coast have been drawn in a tough Group G with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.

Halihodzic becomes is the second coach of a World Cup-bound African side to lose his job since the Nations Cup after Nigeria fired Shaibu Amodu earlier this month and named Swede Lars Lagerback as his replacement on Saturday.