Ivorians quash Halilhodzic exit rumours

The Ivorian Football Federation [FIF] dismissed reports that Franco-Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic was due to step down from his role in charge of the Ivory Coast national team.

"The executive committee of the FIF would like to clarify that Mr. Vahid Halilhodziv is under contract with Ivory Coast until the end of qualification for the 2010 African Cup of Nations and [FIFA] World Cup," read a statement from the FIF.

"In any case, the FIF is committed to safeguarding the interests of the national team and reaffirms its strong will to make qualification for the African Cup of Nations and World Cup its main priority.

"Vahid Halilhodzic informed the president of the FIF, Jacques Anouma, after the match against Burkina Faso [a 3-2 victory for Ivory Coast on Saturday] of informal contact he had made with an English club."

Halilhodzic, who has coached Ivory Coast since May 2008, has reportedly been offered a three-year contract by Premier League side Portsmouth.

'The Elephants', as the Ivory Coast's national side are known, currently top Group E, the joint qualifying group for next year's African Nations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, having won their three matches to date.