Kezman delight as Serbia turn to Clemente

July 19, 2006

MADRID, July 19 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid's Serbia striker Mateja Kezman has hailed his country's decision to appoint former Spain boss Javier Clemente as coach.

'He is a great coach with a lot of experience. It is good news for us because we have players with a lot of quality and I think he will be able to help us,' Kezman told the Atletico website.

'He has shown he has belief and is a winner.'

Clemente, who led Spain to the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 96, confirmed on Tuesday he would take charge of the side for their Euro 2008 qualification campaign.

The 56-year-old will travel to Serbia on Thursday to sign the deal and will be presented to the media on Friday.

Serbia & Montenegro played as a unified team at the World Cup in Germany despite Montenegro voting for independence from Serbia in May.

They exited the tournament in the first round after defeats by the Netherlands, Argentina, who thumped them 6-0, and Ivory Coast, forcing manager Ilija Petkovic to step down.

Serbia will play in the Euro 2008 qualifiers on their own and are in Group A with Portugal, Poland, Belgium, Finland, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

'After the World Cup we are all a little down but now we can start a new era with a new coach with new hopes and ambitions,' added Kezman.

'I am sure everyone in Serbia wants a coach like Clemente because he is great figure in the world of football. Everyone knows who he is.'

Kezman had a disappointing World Cup, failing to score and being off in the defeat by Argentina.