Ill Albania coach Baric to miss Slovenia clash

March 20, 2007

TIRANA, March 20 (Reuters) - Albania coach Otto Baric said he would miss his team's Euro 2008 qualifier against Slovenia on Saturday because of serious health problems.

'It is a sure thing I won't be able to be there for the first meeting with Slovenia,' Baric, 75, told the Albanian Sporti Shqiptar daily on Tuesday.

'I hope I get better so I can be by the side of the team for the second match.'

Albania meet Slovenia in Group G on Saturday in the northern town of Shkoder and play Bulgaria away four days later.

'The situation is not good at all. According to the doctors, it is serious. I need at least ten days...to take the pills. The doctors say that after five to six days, I shall be able to breathe more freely,' Baric, a Croatian, said.

He said he was staying in bed with high blood pressure, pain and breathing difficulties.

Baric said his deputy Slavko Kovacic, a fellow Croatian, would replace him.

Albania are sixth in the group with one point from three matches.