Gourcuff puts pen to paper
© AFP

Frenchman Christian Gourcuff put pen to paper on his contract to take over as coach of Algeria, replacing Vahid Halilhodzic.

The Algerian Football Federation announced in a statement that Gourcuff had signed "a contract with objectives including the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 and 2017 and the 2018 World Cup."

Former Lorient coach Gourcuff, 59, will also coach the A team, made up exclusively of locally-based players. He will work alongside former Algeria captain Yazid Mansouri, who played under Gourcuff at Lorient and has now been named as his country's general manager.

Gourcuff will be under pressure to live up to the achievements of Halilhodzic, who led the north African nation to an historic appearance in the last 16 at the recent FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil, where they only lost 2-1 after extra time to eventual winners Germany.

Former Yugoslavia player Halilhodzic took over as Algeria coach in 2011 but refused to sign a new deal. Gourcuff stepped down as Lorient coach at the end of last season, ending a 25-year association with the Brittany club over three spells in which he took the team from the regional leagues and eventually established them in Ligue 1.