Bogota: Argentine Jose Pekerman stepped down as Colombia coach yesterday, less than two months after leading the side into the knock-out stages of the World Cup in Russia.
The 69-year-old had been in the job since 2012 and led Colombia to successive World Cup finals appearances.
A Yerry Mina goal deep into stoppage time gave Colombia a 1-1 draw with England in the last 16 in Russia but the South Americans were then knocked out on penalties.
Colombian Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun praised Pekerman’s “highly successful” spell in charge. He denied press reports there had been a falling out over pay, saying Pekerman had quit for “strictly personal reasons”.
Pekerman’s contract ended on August 31 and local press were speculating that an extension was being hampered by an inability to agree economic terms, as well as a federation demand that the coach’s agent be kept away from the national team.
In a press conference, Pekerman criticised the media for “causing a lot of harm to the national team”, with such rumours.
“You don’t get elsewhere the amount of lies and drivel that has been said here,” he added, insisting he hasn’t had offers from other clubs or countries.
Under Pekerman, Colombia achieved their best-ever World Cup finish, reaching the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago, where they lost to the hosts.