Colombia hire Nestor Lorenzo to fill national team coaching vacancy

Colombia's football federation announced on Thursday it had picked Nestor Lorenzo to coach its men's national team for the next four years. The 56-year-old Argentinian will replace Reinaldo Rueda, who was fired from the job in April after his team failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

The federation said in a statement that former Colombia captain Amaranto Perea will be Lorenzo's assistant.

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Local media had reported for weeks that other coaches with a more impressive CV, such as former Leeds' manager Marcelo Bielsa, were in contention for the job.

Lorenzo worked as an assistant in three World Cups: 2006 for Argentina and 2014 and 2018 for Colombia. Much of his career was as a key assistant for Jose Pekerman.

Lorenzo also had that role at Mexico's Toluca and Tigres and was most recently coaching Peru's Melgar, who lead the country's championship with 34 points after 15 matches.

Colombia finished South American World Cup qualifying in sixth place with 23 points in 18 matches. The top four teams -- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador -- secured direct spots in Qatar. Fifth-place Peru will play a team from the Asian confederation for a final berth in the tournament from the CONMEBOL region.