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Football: Nioplias steps down as Cyprus coach

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Cyprus coach Nikos Nioplias has resigned following a disappointing run in World Cup qualification where the minnows are bottom of Group E, the Cypriot football association (CFA) said Thursday.

The final straw for the ex-Greek international and former Greece under-21 boss was a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Slovenia on Tuesday.

Following that loss and another poor showing against Norway in Oslo last week, the national team was heavily criticised for lacking fight and passion.

"Mr Nikos Nioplias has resigned from his position as coach of the men's national team following friendly discussions," the association website said.

"At the end of the match with Slovenia Mr Nioplias informed the Federation of his decision to withdraw from the national team at the end of his contract in November, while offering to immediately stand down if the CFA wished so," it added.

Nioplias, 48, was expected to resign after he bemoaned the lack of quality players he had to pick from, complaining many Cypriots do not get the chance to play first team football at club level because of a preference for foreign players.

He told Tuesday's post-match news conference that the situation for young players getting a chance had become worse despite the island's financial crisis that forced Nicosia to request European Union rescue funds.

CFA staff will take charge of Cyprus' last two fixtures in 2014 qualification against Iceland and Albania in October. A new manger is expected to be announced after those games.

cc/phz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130912/football-nioplias-steps-down-cyprus-coach