Michel expects to leave Ivory Coast job
NIEDERKASSEL, Germany, June 18 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel said on Sunday he considered their final World Cup Group C game against Serbia & Montenegro on Wednesday to be his last in charge, in line with his contract.
'The Ivorian Soccer Federation did not ask to extend my contract, so for me it finishes with the match against the Serbians,' the Frenchman told a news conference.
Asked whether he would consider coaching another African team, Michel said: 'I have given quite a lot to Africa already.'
Hopes were high for debutants Ivory Coast but despite stirring performances Michel, who took the helm in 2004, watched his African side lose 2-1 in their g
ames against World Cup heavyweights Argentina and Netherlands.
'We could have done something great here but it turned out otherwise... But there is hope for the future,' he said.
Argentina's scintillating 6-0 demolition of Serbia & Montenegro helped seal the Ivorians' fate, and the Elephants now have only pride to play for against the Serbians in Munich.
Michel, who is at his fourth World Cup finals, said he would do all he could to win his last match with the Ivorians but he went on to criticise much of the refereeing against the Dutch.
'This is a World Cup of regrets, especially with regard to the refereeing. I watched the game against the Netherlands again last night and saw some very obvious mistakes.'
'I am under the impression there is a favouritism for larger countries over smaller ones when it comes to refereeing.'
Michel first went to the World Cup finals 20 years ago in charge of a France team that reached the semi-finals in Mexico.
His other World Cup trips have been with African sides. In 1994, he led Cameroon at the finals in the United States and four years later he was Morocco coach at France '98.
Michel should have been Tunisia's coach at the 2002 finals in Japan but he departed just months before the tournament.