Football

Published: Thursday July 3, 2014 MYT 9:49:23 PM
Updated: Thursday July 3, 2014 MYT 9:50:15 PM

Serbia want Italian Zenga as coach

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia want former Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga to take over as coach for Euro 2016 qualifying.

"We spoke to Zenga for several hours on Saturday but I still can't say whether we are close to a deal," FA chief Tomislav Karazdic told a news conference on Thursday.

"Zenga wants to come back to Europe and make an impact here and in the next few weeks we will know whether we will be able to recruit him.

"We've had great offers from several other high-profile foreign coaches but we have a limited budget to which we have to adhere and it will be the decisive factor when we make a decision at the end of this month."

Zenga, who has spent the last four years coaching clubs in the Middle East, won a Serbian league and cup double with Red Star Belgrade in 2006.

The highlight of his playing career was reaching the 1990 World Cup semi-finals on home soil.

Interim coach Ljubinko Drulovic, who took over from Sinisa Mihajlovic in February after Serbia failed to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, seemed to have secured a permanent deal after solid performances in four friendly games.

But Karadzic made it clear he wanted a more experienced man at the helm although he praised Drulovic for steering Serbia's Under-19 side to a shock win at last year's European Championship in Lithuania.

"We have to get it right this time because we have missed the last two major tournaments and we can't afford not to qualify for Euro 2016," said the FA chief.

"Drulovic is an exceptional coach and character but lacks experience at the highest level and there is no room for a weak link in any department."

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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