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African champions Cameroon sack French coach

© Reuters Limited 2001

YAOUNDE, June 19 (Reuters) - Reigning African champions Cameroon have sacked their French coach Pierre Lechantre, state radio announced. "I am shocked. I am surprised by the decision," Lechantre told Reuters after the announcement late on Monday.

Lechantre led the country to their third victory in the African Nations' Cup last year in Nigeria. He was replaced last October but then returned under public pressure in May. His departure follows a poor showing in the Confederations Cup earlier this month, where Cameroon were beaten by Japan and left after the first round. Some players had refused to take part because of differences with the coach.

Lechantre has been temporarily replaced by countryman Robert Corfu, who was appointed two months ago to help the development of youth football. His first test will be the 2002 World Cup qualifier at home against Togo on July 1. Cameroon can qualify for the finals with a win over the lowly West African side.

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