Hassan Shehata can coach Nigeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ if he wishes, according to the Egyptian Football Association.

The Pharaohs boss, one of several names that have been linked to the vacant position, last week ruled himself out of the running, citing the unwillingness of his employers to release him on a short-term basis. The 60-year-old was on a preferred list of candidates drawn up by the Nigeria Football Federation following the dismissal of Shaibu Amodu earlier this month.

Six other coaches are also amongst those targeted by the African country - Russia boss Guus Hiddink, reportedly the No1 target, and current Bayern Munich boss Louis van Gaal, who has already stated his non-interest, were initially considered two of the forerunners. Also targeted are Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson, Englishman Peter Taylor, ex-Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic and Qatar chief Bruno Metsu.

The FA's general assembly gave Shehata the thumbs-up to coach Nigeria during the World Cup should a tangible offer be made.

Salah Hosni, Egypt FA spokesman.

However, a member of the Egypt FA has now confirmed Shehata would be allowed to lead the Super Eagles to South Africa if a firm offer was presented by the NFF. "The FA's general assembly gave Shehata the thumbs-up to coach Nigeria during the World Cup should a tangible offer be made," said Salah Hosni, an executive in the Egyptian football governing body.

Shehata is highly regarded on the continent and his stock rose further last month after guiding Egypt to a third successive CAF Africa Cup of Nations title, although they missed out on qualification for the FIFA World Cup.

Hosni added: "The FA president Samir Zaher is assigned to contact the Nigerian FA and follow up on this issue."

Nigeria were drawn in Group B for the FIFA World Cup, alongside Argentina, Greece and South Korea. Their new coach is expected to be announced before the end of February.