SPORTS

Rehhagel likely to stay on

Greece soccer manager Otto Rehhagel appears increasingly likely to keep his job beyond this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. The German hinted to a newspaper in his country on Sunday that he intends to continue coaching the 2004 European champion which he led to glory, saying that despite being in his 70s he does not intend to give up the sport. «I am not thinking of stopping as long as I have offers and work to do, so I will continue to work,» he said when asked if it was time to retire after the World Cup finals. «I was born with soccer and I will die with soccer,» he asserted. Hellenic Football Federation president Sofoklis Pilavios has said he would offer a new contract to Rehhagel leading up to the finals of the European Championship of 2012. Reports suggested yesterday that the two men may already have had a discussion about it on the occasion of the meeting of the federations involved in Greece’s qualifying group for the 2012 finals. That meeting with representatives of Greece, Croatia, Israel, Latvia, Georgia and Malta was supposed to decide the fixture schedule for the pool but produced no result, leaving it now to UEFA to hold a draw and decide who will play whom and when. In another managerial soccer drama that is about to begin, Olympiakos may be considering the return of former coach Ernesto Valverde ahead of the new season. The Spaniard is unemployed after being sacked by Villarreal and his name has become a regular chant among Olympiakos fans this season in view of the club’s disappointing domestic results. Now it appears that many Olympiakos officials intend to try to convince club president Sokratis Kokkalis that Valverde may be the answer to the team’s failure to meet its targets this year, as few in the club have been convinced about the ability of current coach Bozidar Bandovic.