Paraguay coach Ruiz stunned at award

January 1, 2006

Paraguay's Uruguayan coach Anibal Ruiz admitted his surprise to be named the best coach in South America in 2005.

Ruiz, whose side face England at the World Cup next summer, won the accolade in the traditional poll of South American sports journalists by Uruguayan newspaper El Pais which also named Carlos Tevez, who plays for Brazilian club Corinthians and Argentina, as player of the year.

Ruiz, whose team will also face Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago in the group stages of the World Cup, said: 'This distinction is a great surprise for me, but it makes me very proud at the same time.'

The 64-year-old received 32 votes, beating competition from Brazil boss Carlos Alberto Parreira and Paulo Cesar Autuori, coach of FIFA Club World champions Sao Paulo, who each received 29 votes.

'I found out about the prize in Barcelona one day after the friendly (where Paraguay drew 1-1 with Catalonia).' said Ruiz.

'People were congratulating me and I didn't understand why until my daughter called and told me it was because of the award.'