Galatasaray appoint Korkmaz to replace Skibbe

ISTANBUL - Galatasaray have appointed former captain Bulent Korkmaz as their new coach in place of Michael Skibbe who was sacked on Monday after a poor run of results.

The Istanbul club confirmed the appointment on their website after earlier announcing that they were parting company with Skibbe just eight months after he took up the post.

Last season's champions are fifth in the league, level on points with arch rivals Fenerbahce and eight points adrift of surprise leaders Sivasspor from central Turkey. Galatasaray were beaten 5-2 at home by lowly Kocaelispor on Sunday.

Galatasaray said it had reached a deal with Korkmaz on a contract until the end of the 2009-2010 season.

Korkmaz, 40, won eight domestic titles and the UEFA Cup as a central defender with Galatasaray. He was also capped 102 times by Turkey.

Since becoming a club coach in 2006, he has had stints with Kayseri Erciyesspor, Bursaspor and Genclerbirligi.

Broadcasters CNN Turk and NTV said Korkmaz had been preferred to Romanian Gheorghe Hagi, a former Galatasaray player and coach, as the latter had sought a longer contract.

Former Bayer Leverkusen coach Skibbe was appointed by Galatasaray in June last year in the wake of the club's 17th league title, after the resignation of fellow German Karl-Heinz Feldkamp. (Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Justin Palmer)