French coach Rolland Courbis plays down Niger role

Rolland Courbis
French coach Rolland Courbis says he has not yet reached a deal to take up an advisor's role for Niger

French coach Rolland Courbis says he has not yet reached a deal to take up an advisor's role for Niger at the Africa Cup of Nations early next year.

"There is no agreement, we are working on the possibility but nothing is done yet," he was quoted as saying in the French sports newspaper L'Equipe.

The ex-Marseille coach, who was jailed for transfer irregularities, watched the side in two friendlies this month and the Niger Football Federation (NFF) said he would oversee the country's debut at the tournament.

"He would act as an advisor by lending his expertise to coach Harouna Douala", NFF president Djibrilla Hamidou said.

Courbis spent several months in jail at the end of 2009 for taking bribes to buy and sell players.

The Frenchman accompanied the Niger team to a training match in Dubai and a home friendly against Botswana earlier this month.

Niger were surprise qualifiers after South Africa bungled the permutations needed to win their preliminary pool.

They have been drawn in Group C along with co-hosts Gabon, Morocco and Tunisia at the 21 January to 21 February finals.

Courbis has also coached Bordeaux and Montpellier and is now a regular football analyst on French television.

The Mena, which is the word in the Hausa language for gazelle, have been attempting to qualify for the Nations Cup since 1970.

They had their home record to thank for this qualification, having won every match at their Stade General Seyni Kountché stadium, including a famous defeat of African champions Egypt.

Niger have few internationally-recognised players, but Moussa Maazou is one that stands out - having played for CSKA Moscow, Bordeaux and Monaco during his career.

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