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By ESPN Staff

Ricardo Rocha appointed Cape Verde coach

PRAIA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Former Brazilian and Real Madrid defender Ricardo Rocha has been appointed as the new coach of the Cape Verde Islands' national team, the Cape Verdian Football Federation said on Thursday.

Rocha, 44, replaces Ze Rui, who will be one of his assistants. He has signed a four year contract, officials added.

It is the first major coaching position for the former centre back, who won 60 caps for Brazil and was a member of their World Cup winning squad in 1994 and also played at the 1990 finals in Italy.

Rocha had previously served as coach of Santa Cruz in Brazil.

Rocha's first official game in charge will be next March when Cape Verde visit Algeria in an African Nations Cup qualifier on March 23.

The islanders have three points from their opening two matches and are seeking to qualify for the finals for the first time.

The 2008 Nations Cup finals will be played in Ghana.