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Julio Cesar Uribe, himself a talented playmaker in the 1980s, has been appointed national team coach of Peru. The 48-year-old’s first game in charge was Peru’s 2-0 defeat against Japan in Yokohama on 24 March. Uribe, who is nicknamed “Diamond”, was gifted left-footer at Sporting Cristal and a member of the last Peru side to qualify for a World Cup back in 1982. Following his country’s qualification for Spain’82, he moved to Italian club Cagliari. As a coach, Uribe has spent most of his career in Mexico, although his most recent position was at Peruvian club Cienciano de Cuzco, which he resigned in order to take over the national side. “Only the best will be called up to the national team; there will be no more big-headedness and disorganization. Discipline is essential, which is why I need the players to contribute through their professionalism,” said Uribe.

Argentinian Gerardo Martino look over as Paraguay national team coach on 19 February, immediately after the lawyer, Juan Angel Napout, took office as president of the Paraguayan football association. Martino, a legend at Argentinian club Newell’s Old Boys, enjoyed a very successful coaching career in Paraguay, where he won the league championship twice, once with Libertad and once with Cerro Porteno. Martino’s reign began with 2-1 defeat against Mexico in Monterrey on 26 March.
Martino’s appointment means that the line-up of coaches of the ten South American associations that are due to take part in the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela has now been finalized: Alfio Basile (Argentina), Carlos Dunga (Brazil), Erwin “Platini” Sanchez (Bolivia), Nelson Acosta (Chile), Jorge Luis Pinto (Colombia), Luis Fernando Suarez (Ecuador), Gerardo Martino (Paraguay), Julio Cezar Uribe (Peru), Oscar Washington Tabarez (Uruguay) and Richard Paez (Venezuela). Paez is the only who has confirmed that he will be standing down at the end of the Copa America. The other coaches have contracts until the end of the preliminary competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa TM.

OFC (Oceania Football Confederation)

New Zealand were the winners of the OFC U-17 Championship Tahiti 2007. New Zealand striker Costa Barbarouses finished top scorer for the tournament with five goals as the ?Youth all Whites’ sealed the OFC berth at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007. Tahiti finished runners-up, Fiji third and New Caledonia fourth in the round-robin tournament.

Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) signed a sponsorship deal with Solomon Telekom worth 1.4 million Solomon dollars for the development of domestic football and the preparation of the senior men’s international team for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the South Pacific Games in Samoa in August.

New Zealand will retain their spot in the Hyundai A-League for next season, with the New Zealand Knights being replaced by a new entity called Wellington Phoenix. The national body and Football Federation Australia reached an agreement that will see the Kiwi franchise shift from Auckland to Wellington for 2007 – 2008 season with national team coach Rick Herbert taking charge.

American Samoa’s Goal project is reaching completion with work at Pago Park set to end in due course, and the American Samoa Football Association (ASFA) about to move its temporary headquarters from Tafuna to the new complex in July. The ASFA will launch a domestic young league and national league competition based at the complex next year.