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By ESPN Staff

Angola coach Goncalves quits before qualifier

LUANDA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves resigned on Saturday, just over a week before a vital World Cup qualifier with Niger, the state-run agency ANGOP said.

His departure plunges into crisis a team that surprisingly reached the last World Cup in Germany in 2006. Angola are also hosts of the next African Nations Cup finals in 2010.

Angolan Football Federation president Justino Fernandes told a news conference in Luanda on Saturday that Goncalves had asked to be released from his contract, which ends in December.

Angola host Niger on Oct. 12 in an African zone Group Three qualifier they must win to stand any chance of progressing to the last phase of the preliminaries as one of the best second placed finishers. The group has already been won by Benin.

Angola have lost two of their last three qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, drawing the other at home.

Goncalves's assistant, Mabi de Almeida will take over as coach for next week's game with Niger in Luanda.

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