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Friday, March 7, 2008
Coach Fanz happy with Cuban fitness levels

HAVANA, March 6 (Reuters) - Cuba's new soccer coach Reinhold Fanz says his team is very fit but needs to improve tactically to have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup finals.

Just hours after unpacking his bags at a Havana hotel, German Fanz was meeting the players and speaking to the media on Thursday.

'The goal is to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. I have seen the Cuban team and they have a very good level of fitness, but they have to work on the tactics of the game,' he said.

'The Cuban players are talented, fast and very keen to work,' said Fanz, who faces a daunting task. Cuba are ranked 71st in the world and have not reached the World Cup finals since 1938, when they lost 8-0 to Sweden in the quarter-finals.

The former Fortuna Dusseldorf player has coached Bundesliga clubs Hanover 96 and Eintracht Frankfurt but has never previously managed a national team.

Fanz, 54, was loaned by German lower-league side Bonner SC to the Cuban Soccer Association. Cuba will cover his living and travel expenses.

The first World Cup qualifying game is in June, against Antigua and Barbuda or Aruba.

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