Brazilian Roberto Bianchi has been appointed as the new coach of the Angola national team, and will lead the side with immediate effect.
The Angolan Football Federation announced the news this week, with the 50-year-old Brazilian-born tactician set to take the Palancas Negras into the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
Bianchi replaces Jose Kilamba, who was in charge of the Angolans since 2015, becoming the fourth Brazilian to coach the southern African former Portuguese colony.
The new man has been the head coach at Angolan popular club Petro de Luanda since 2016, and will now step into the role as the national team manager, bringing with him experience coaching in various places around the world, including Indonesia, Jordan, Spain and Montenegro.
Roberto Bianchi up for the Angola ‘challenge’
Speaking to the media after being confirmed as the new coach of the Angolan senior team, Bianchi admitted that the AFCON is his priority, while the country’s current FIFA ranking is another element that he wishes to work on during his tenure as coach.
“We have a huge challenge to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations,” Bianchi said, according to BBCSport.
“My mission is also to improve the country’s position in the FIFA rankings.”
Angola is currently ranked a dismal 147th in the world on the FIFA rankings, released each month by world soccer’s governing body, while they are 45th on the African continent out of 54 teams.
Their average position in the standings since the FIFA rankings were launched in 1993 is 78, which shows the heavy decline that the team has experienced since 2014.
Bianchi will be aiming to address that disappointing loss of form on the world and continental stage, with the AFCON in Cameroon as his first opportunity to do so.
The qualifying campaign for the next Nations Cup begins in June, with the Palancas Negras drawn in a group alongside Burkina Faso, Botswana and Mauritania.