Soccer-Dutchman Coolen heads to Aruba for World Cup adventure

Reuters

AMSTERDAM, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Rini Coolen is to temporarily leave his post as head of youth development at PEC Zwolle and lead the small Caribbean island of Aruba in World Cup qualification, the Dutch club said on Sunday.

PEC have a co-operation agreement with Aruba's football association and have hosted several coaches from the island for instruction and Coolen has been asked to take charge of two qualifiers next month.

Aruba play St Vincent and the Grenadines over two legs on Sept. 4 and 9 to decide a place in the group phase of CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Aruba were eliminated in the last round in June by Barbados but given a reprieve when their opponents were found to have fielded a suspended player.

Previous Aruba coach Giovanni Franken departed after the two-legged loss to Barbados.

Aruba have never before reached the group phase of World Cup qualification.

"It is not a bad draw," Coolen said of the match-up. "The chances are a little bit 50-50. Should we get through to the group phase, then we'll talk again."

If Aruba get through they will play in Group C of CONCACAF qualification in which their first game will be away to the United States in November. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com +27828257807 Messaging mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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