George Leeskens was named Algeria’s new national coach on Sunday after reaching an agreement with the African nation’s football federation. The Belgian signed a two-year renewable contract and has set his sights on guiding the country to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ along with the African Cup of Nations in 2004.

Leeskens replaces Rabah Madjer, who was dismissed in May 2002 following a friendly against Belgium, and will be assisted by countryman Stéphane Pawls.

"Algerian football is technically strong but limited tactically. If we can change that, anything is possible," he told the Algerian newspaper El Moudjahid. Leeskens, who led the Red Devils at France 98, said he would need six months before taking over the reigns completely in order to watch Algerians involved in European competitions. The coach said he needed the time to "discuss things with the players and see their ambition".

Algeria, who are currently 68th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, have begun the African Cup of Nations campaign well with wins against Chad and Namibia.

Leeskens first match in charge will be against Uganda on 25 January in Kampala with a date to play his native country, Belgium, set for 12 February at home in Annaba.