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France hand ex-footballer Desailly African role
Published : 06 Oct 2011 14:05:38
Marcel Desailly is to take on a role as an ambassador to Africa on behalf of the French Football Federation (FFF), the body's chairman Noel Le Graet announced on Thursday.
Ghanaian-born Desailly, a star of the 1998 World Cup-winning French side, "will be placed in charge of representing the federation in Africa -- I see him as an ambassador, though he does not like this term," said Le Graet.
Le Graet revealed that recent bad publicity over the briefly mooted introduction of quotas for young players with dual-nationality had hurt France's sporting prestige and the appointment of Desailly was intended to help counteract that.
"It is about transmitting an image of a more generous France than in recent times and Marcel offered a measured (response) during the quotas and dual-nationality affair and I appreciated that," said Le Graet.
The issue briefly threatened the tenure of coach Laurent Blanc after it emerged that he and other French officials had discussed whether France should bring in quotas for youngsters of non-French origin who come through French ranks but ultimately elect to play for their country of origin.
In the case of Desailly, though born in Accra he came to France as a youngster and performed with distinction for his adopted country.
Meanwhile, the FFF said it was appointing former international Willy Sagnol as "manager of national sides" through to youth level for both boys and girls.