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Petkovic rewarded for efforts

Serbia and Montenegro have handed Ilija Petkovic a contract to lead them into the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

German goal
The 58-year-old coach had been temporarily appointed in July to guide Serbia and Montenegro in their remaining UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifiers, after their poor start to the campaign under Dejan Savicevic. Although Petkovic was ultimately unable to win the team a place in Portugal next summer, he impressed enough to earn a longer stint in the role.

Extension possible
Dragan Stojkovic, president of the F.A. of Serbia and Montenegro, confirmed the news after meeting with Petkovic today. He said: "We have just finished our short conversation. Everything is clear. Ilija Petkovic will work as head coach for the next two years, with an automatic extension until July 2006 if we win a place in the final round of the next World Cup in Germany."

Primary target
Of the contract, which will see Petkovic receive €3,000 a month and a €200,000 bonus if World Cup qualification is secured, Stojkovic added: "We made an offer and he took it without any questions. I'm very satisfied, because we only wanted Petkovic. We want the same things, our primary target is the next qualification round. Petkovic showed that he knew his job very well and we give all our hopes to him."

Highly regarded
As well as his spell in charge from July to October this year when he took Serbia and Montenegro to home and away success against Wales and a home draw with Italy, Petkovic also led the national team between July 2000 and February 2001. Serbia and Montenegro's next match will be a friendly in Plock against Poland on 16 November.