Venezuela hires Argentine Pekerman to coach national team

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — José Pekerman, who has coached teams in three World Cups, was hired Tuesday to take over the Venezuelan national team.

The 72-year-old Argentine signed a five-year contract, the country’s soccer federation said, with the goal of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Venezuela is the only team from the South American confederation that has never reached the World Cup.

It is out of the running for next year’s tournament in Qatar with just 7 points and four qualifiers to play.

Pekerman guided Colombia to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup and to the round of 16 in the 2018 tournament. He coached Argentina in the 2006 World Cup, losing on penalties to Germany in the quarterfinals.

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