Ecuador hires Jordi Cruyff as national team coach

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador has hired former Barcelona and Manchester United midfielder Jordi Cruyff as its national team coach.

Cruyff, the son of coaching legend Johan Cruyff, has signed a three-year contract, the Ecuador soccer federation said.

He is taking the job less than three months before the opening round of South American World Cup qualifiers.

The president of the federation, Francisco Egas, said the appointment of the 45-year-old Cruyff is the first step toward qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Cruyff has previously coached China’s Dangdai Lifan and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Ecuador fired coach Hernán Gómez in August after a disappointing performance at the Copa America in Brazil, when the team was eliminated in the group stage.

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