Tunisia appoint Bertrand Marchand as new coach
TUNIS, April 5 (Reuters) - Tunisia's football federation named Frenchman Bertrand Marchand as their preferred candidate to become the new national team coach, the Tunis Press Agency (TAP) reported on Saturday. However, a list of three names had been forwarded to the country's sports ministry for a final decision, TAP added. The other two are also coaches with close French connections -- the Bosnian-born Valid Halilhodzic, whose many coaching assignments include a stint at Paris St Germain, and German Gerot Rohr, who had several spells in charge at Girondins Bordeaux and now works in Ligue 2 with Ajaccio. Last November, Marchand led Tunisian club Etoile Sahel to a first African Champions League title after less than six months in his job. The 54-year-old is a former professional with Stade Rennes and coached at the club as well as at En Avant Guingamp in France, before moving to Tunisia. Earlier this week, Marchand told the Tunis state-run La Presse newspaper he had no intention of leaving Etoile before the end of his contract in June. The club lead the Ligue 1 standings in Tunisia. The new coach's first task will be four World Cup qualifiers on successive weekends in June. Tunisia begin their bid for a place at the 2010 finals with a home tie against Burkina Faso and then play the Seychelles and Burundi (twice). He will replace Roger Lemerre whose six-year stint in Tunisia included victory in the 2004 African Nations Cup finals. Tunisia is one of many African countries where state financial support for football dictates that government approval is needed for major decisions such as the appointment of a foreign coach.