Ivory Coast can't afford Eriksson

IVORY Coast have revealed that financial terms prevented the African country from keeping Sven-Goran Eriksson on as coach.

The Elephants have confirmed the departure of the Swede, who led them on a short-term basis to the World Cup in South Africa, where they performed credibly but failed to progress beyond a tough group stage.

The former England coach was also keen to remain, but Sony Diabate, the president of the national committee, said: "Eriksson will not be the next coach of the Elephants. He was the first choice but the discussions came to nothing after difficulty arose about financial conditions, despite the good will on both sides. This is the place to once again thank Eriksson for the outstanding job he has done with the national team at the World Cup."

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The west Africans were in arguably the toughest group at the finals alongside Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. Diabate also denied reports that the 62-year-old was unhappy with the ambition shown by the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), insisting it was not the reason he left. "It's not true," he responded when asked about the allegation.

"Eriksson called us and renewed his thanks and greetings to the president of FIF and members of the executive committee. He remains convinced that the team of Ivory Coast has huge potential and a bright future. He told us that his deep and sincere desire was to continue with this team. However, he regretted that it was not possible.

"He said he had never granted an interview to anyone about our discussions and denied the federation lacks ambition.

"Instead, he praised the federation and although he has left, he remains our friend."

The team's next game is a friendly against Italy in London next Tuesday.