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By ESPN Staff

Troussier confirms approach from Benin

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Former Japan World Cup coach Philippe Troussier has been approached by Benin to take charge of their team in the African Nations Cup, the Frenchman said on Thursday.

Troussier said, however, that negotiations had not been concluded, adding: 'It is still too early to confirm, at the moment I am still talking to the Benin federation.

'It will still be two to three days before anything official can be concluded,' he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The 52-year-old former Olympique Marseille coach said he was itching to return to the game after a break of almost two years.

'It is time to come back now and Benin would be a great challenge for me, even if just for three months,' he said.

The African Nations Cup finals will be played in Ghana from January 20 to February 10 next year.

'(Benin) have a tough group at the Nations Cup with Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Mali. It's a perfect challenge for the white witch doctor,' he said in a reference to the nickname given him when he first forged his coaching reputation in African football in the early 1990s.

Troussier has been coach in Africa of ASEC Abidjan and the national teams of Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Morocco, his last post in December 2005.

He steered Japan to the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup and has also coached Qatar. He was at Marseille in 2004-05.

Troussier said he had spent the last 24 months relaxing away from the game. 'Two years out of the game is not a long time in the career of a coach,' he said.

Benin will play at the Nations Cup for only the second time after taking one of the three places for best runners-up in the qualifying groups. They lost all three games in their previous appearance in the finals in Tunisia in 2004.