Sammy McIlroy will remain as Northern Ireland manager until December 2005, after agreeing a two-year extension to his contract.
The 48-year-old McIlroy's new deal will mean he will lead his country in their 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. The Northern Irish have not scored a goal in their last ten senior matches, although they drew 0-0 with Spain in a UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier in June.
"I was proud to get the full backing of the international committee," said McIlroy. "A lot of people realised things may not have run smoothly - that is probably an understatement. But you put that all behind you.
"I have never wavered. Obviously you get disappointments but the players and fans' backing makes me more determined to get it right. I wanted another two years so I could work with the young players coming through. The average age of the side against Spain was under 24 which is good for the future."
Northern Ireland have three EURO 2004™ Group 6 qualifiers remaining against Ukraine, Armenia and Greece, and are currently bottom of the section.
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