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    Koevermans set to be new India football coach

    New Delhi: Former Dutch international Wim Koevermans is all set to take over as the chief coach of the Indian football team for a two-year term, ending a more than a year's search for a full-fledged occupant for the top job.

    Following All India Football Federation's sacking of Englishman Bob Houghton early last year, Armando Colaco and Savio Medeira - whose contract expires on May 31 - were given short stints, but they failed to yield much success.

    Another Dutchman Rob Baan, who was appointed technical director in October last year, was given the responsibility to search for the chief coach and he has handpicked compatriot Koevermans for the job.

    AIFF vice-president AR Khaleel said that Koevermans' appointment will be approved by the Executive Committee early next month and the Dutchman will take charge soon after that.

    "The appointment of Koevermans is more or less certain now. The president [Praful Patel] has given the go-ahead and he [Koevermans] has accepted the terms and conditions of the contract. The Executive Committee is meeting on June 7 or 8 and it will give the final approval," he said.

    "Initially, he will be given a two-year contract and if the performance of the national team under him is satisfactory, his contract will be extended," he added.

    If appointed, Koevermans' first job at the helm will be the Nehru Cup, expected to be held here in August, and he will have the enormous task of rebuilding a national team which is in transition after the exit of some stalwarts and whose FIFA rankings have been dipping for some time.

    The 51-year-old Koevermans, who was in the Netherlands 1988 Euro Championships-winning squad but had not played in the tournament, possesses impressive credentials, though he played only one international match.

    As the Dutch youth team coach between 2002 and 2008, he oversaw the development of some of superstars like Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt.

    He is currently the International High Performance Director of the Football Association of Ireland as well as the Irish Under-21 team coach. He turned to coaching almost immediately after his retirement as a professional in 1990, and went on to coach Dutch club sides FC Groningen, RBC Roosendaal, NEC Nijmegen and MVV Maastricht between 1990 and 2000.

    Meanwhile, another Dutchman Raymond Libregts has declined to become coach of the Under-22 national squad as well as that of AIFF developmental side Pailan Arrows. The PSV Eindhoven youth team coach had travelled to Bangalore where the Under-22 national squad was training and also to Kolkata to see the facilities there. The Dutchman, however, cited personal reasons while expressing his inability to take up the job.

    Sources said that Australian Arthus Papas, who was recently appointed as head of the AIFF Regional Academy at Navi Mumai, will take over as coach of the Under-22 national team as well as Pailan Arrows.