Gomez returns as Colombia coach

BOGOTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Hernan Dario Gomez made a comeback as Colombia coach on Tuesday charged with ending years of failure to reach the World Cup finals.

The man commonly know as "Bolillo", the last to take his country to the finals in France in 1998, was officially appointed by the Colombian Football Federation.

Colombia, looking to ensure they qualify for the 2014 finals in Brazil, have called on past masters Francisco Maturana, coach of their 1990 and 1994 teams, as their national teams manager and Gomez as coach.

The pair were involved in a golden period in Colombian football when they qualified for three World Cups in a row in the 1990s.

Maturana, 61, met with disappointment, however, when Colombia flopped in the U.S. tournament in 1994 where they had gone among the title favourites.

The 54-year-old Gomez moved on after Colombia's group stage elimination in France 12 years ago and steered neighbours Ecuador to their first finals in Asia in 2002.

Gomez, who coached Guatemala from 2006 to 2008, quit Colombian first division Independiente Santa Fe in Bogota a year ago and had been working in the media.

Leonel Alvarez, a midfielder in the teams of the 1990s alongside the brilliant Carlos Valderrama and who steered Independiente Medellin to the Colombian Clausura title last year, will be Gomez's assistant.

Their first test will come at next year's Copa America in Argentina.