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Advocaat to coach Dutch and stay at Rangers

© Reuters 2002

By Paul Vreeken

ZEIST, Netherlands, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Dick Advocaat is to take over as Netherlands coach as they embark on their 2004 European Championship qualifying campaign after failing to reach the World Cup. Advocaat, director of football at Scottish premier league club Rangers, will begin the Dutch job on a part-time basis in July 2002. He is set to become full-time coach in July next year, the Dutch football association (KNVB) said on Friday.

Known as "The Little General," Advocaat will be starting out on his second spell as national coach having led the team to the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals before taking over as PSV Eindhoven manager. Rangers will give Advocaat, 54, time off to take charge of the national team for friendlies against England, Spain, the United States and possibly Mexico before the end of the season, the Dutch FA said.

"I think there's still enormous quality in the Dutch team and that was the most important reason for taking the job... It's high time for achievements," Advocaat said at a news conference. The Netherlands have been looking for a coach since Louis van Gaal quit last November after failing to qualify the team for the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

The Dutch FA also spoke to former Dutch internationals Johann Cruyff and Frank Rijkaard about the job. "He is the best possible coach, who together with (the national team) has to meet the short term objective of qualifying for the European championships," the KNVB said.

Wim van Hanegem, a former Feyenoord manager, will be Advocaat's assistant as the Dutch aim to reach the 2004 European championships from a qualifying group including the Czech Republic, Austria, Belarus and Moldova. Bert van Lingen will also join the coaching team.

Earlier this month, Advocaat, who stepped down as Rangers manager in December to become director of football at Ibrox, said he had turned down an offer to leave the club in order to take over as Dutch coach. At the time Advocaat said he had no contract with Rangers but felt he wanted to honour a commitment he had given to the club. "Dick will be employed by Rangers and seconded to KNVB on a consultancy basis for the period to June 2003," the Scottish club said.

From July 1 he will spend an average of 10 working days per month with the Dutch team. "I believe that this extended role will allow Dick even greater scope than already envisaged to see players from across the world at close quarters," Rangers Chairman David Murray said on Friday.

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