Alvarez named new Colombia coach

Alvarez named new Colombia coach

Published Sep. 8, 2011 9:18 p.m. ET

Leonel Alvarez was named Colombia's new national team coach on Thursday, replacing Hernan Dario Gomez who resigned last month after saying he regretted an incident in which he struck a woman in a Bogota bar.

Alvarez was Gomez's assistant and has been in charge as a caretaker coach since Gomez resigned on Aug. 22.

Colombia opens its qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup on Oct. 11 against Bolivia.

''We are going to put all our effort toward the objective of returning to the World Cup,'' Alvarez said. ''Believe me, it is an immense honor, a great pleasure.''


Colombia has not played in the World Cup since 1998 in France.

''We know what we are up against,'' Alvarez said. ''I know what it is to wear the national team shirt, how one feels, the responsibility. The qualifying process is long and difficult, but we will be up to the challenge.''

Alvarez was the interim coach for two matches, which Colombia won by identical scores of 2-0 against Jamaica and Honduras.

Alvarez, 46, was a Colombia midfielder in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and played 101 times for his country.

Colombia officials initially expressed interest in Gerardo Martino, the former Paraguay coach who resigned after this year's Copa America.