Georges Leekens said he is aiming to "play good football and reach UEFA EURO 2012" after being officially presented as the new coach of the Belgian national team.
Leekens, who turns 61 next week, has signed a two-year contract with the option of a further two years, and succeeds Dick Advocaat, who parted company with the Belgian Football Association (URBSFA-KBVB) last month. In a previous spell as coach from January 1997 to August 1999, Leekens led Belgium to the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals.
"I am very proud that I have been given the chance to do this job for a second time," said Leekens, most recently coach of KV Kortrijk. "The most important thing for us is to get results in the near future, try to play good football and reach UEFA EURO 2012. I will do my best to bring Belgium back to the level where they belong."
Leekens – once a tough-tackling defender nicknamed 'Mac the Knife' − called up five new players for the upcoming friendly against Bulgaria on 19 May: Kortrijk protégés Christian Benteke and Laurent Ciman along with Kevin De Bruyne (KRC Genk), Jonathan Legear (RSC Anderlecht) and Christophe Lepoint (KAA Gent).
"I have a young and talented group at my disposal," he said. "I am aware that quality alone is not enough, but that an exemplary mentality, match intelligence and organisation are necessary too. The players must show positive spirit and passion when they wear the national-team shirt. I am ambitious and we must all work together."
Belgium face Germany, Turkey, Austria, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A. The Red Devils have not appeared in the finals of a major tournament since the 2002 World Cup.
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