KINSHASA, April 22 (Reuters) - Frenchman Patrice Neveu has signed a two-year contract to coach Democratic Republic of Congo in their bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Neveu, whose past experience in Africa includes stints at the helm of Guinea and Niger, secured a monthly salary of 20,000 euros ($31,680) as part of the deal, Congo officials said.
'For me it's a great honour to be able to lead Congo. The objectives are great, but the potential is evident,' Neveu told Reuters on Tuesday after signing the contract late on Monday.
Cash-strapped Congo have slipped to 85th in FIFA's world rankings.
FIFA have also warned that the team may be forced to play home World Cup qualifiers outside Kinshasa if rapid improvements are not made to its dilapidated Martyrs' Stadium.
'We had lots of offers. (Neveu) possessed all the qualifications we were looking for. I think he'll bring the firmness and discipline needed to develop our talent,' Constant Omari, head of Congo's football association, told Reuters.
Though Neveu's contract is for two years, it includes an option to continue if they reach the 2010 World Cup finals.
In 1974, the vast former Belgian colony, then know as Zaire, made its only appearance at football's premier tournament.
Neveu is due to begin training with the team next month.