Lemerre leaves Morocco role

RABAT - Roger Lemerre's departure as Morocco coach was made official on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation over the future of the French manager. Lemerre leaves a year into his four-year contract after a resolution of pay-off terms was reached with the Morocco Football Federation, spokesman Abdelah Ghellam told reporters. Lemerre, who won the European Championship with France in 2000 and four years later achieved a unique double by guiding Tunisia to the African Nations Cup trophy, took over Morocco one year ago with a mandate to secure World Cup qualification. But after an easy passage through the first phase of the 2010 preliminaries, Morocco have struggled in their final round group, picking up two points from their first three matches. A goalless draw at home to Togo last month led to widespread speculation about the 68-year-old's future and his departure was finalised after Thursday's meeting of the federation in Rabat. Lemerre coached France at the 2002 World Cup where they were knocked out in the first round in defence of their title and he was also at the finals in Germany in 2006 in charge of Tunisia.