BOGOTA, Sept 16 Colombia fired coach Jorge Luis
Pinto on Tuesday, less than one week after losing 4-0 to Chile
in a World Cup qualifier, and replaced him with former youth
team coach Eduardo Lara.
The change came less than one month before Colombia face
two more qualifiers, at home to Paraguay and away to Brazil.
Pinto, in charge since Dec. 2006, is the third coaching victim
of the South American World Cup qualifiers, which started last
"The target of our federation is to qualify Colombia for
the 2010 World Cup," Colombian football federation president
Luis Bedoya told a news conference after a meeting with Pinto,
who left the building without speaking to the media.
"Jorge Luis Pinto will not continue as coach of the
Colombian national team and will be replaced by Eduardo Lara.
"The federation thanks the professionalism, hard work and
commitment of professor Pinto with the national team."
Colombia, who last qualified for the World Cup in 1998, are
sixth in the 10-team South American group with 10 points from
eight games but have scored only four goals.
They were unbeaten until this month when they lost 1-0 at
home to Uruguay and were then thumped by Chile, teams who are
considered direct rivals for a World Cup place.
The top four teams qualify for the World Cup and the fifth
plays off against the fourth side from the CONCACAF region for
Pinto, who last year fell out with experienced defender
Ivan Cordoba, had been criticised for tinkering with his squad
and had denied recent reports he had fallen out with several
Ecuador and Venezuela have also changed coaches since the
(Reporting by Javier Mozzo; Writing by Brian Homewood in
Buenos Aires; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)