Ex-Man Utd assistant Queiroz appointed new Colombia boss

The 65-year-old has penned a five-year contract with the South American nation and will face Japan in his first game in March

Colombia have appointed Carlos Queiroz as the head coach of the national team.

The South American nation had been without a coach since Jose Pekerman brought an end to a near seven-year spell in charge in September.

Queiroz had long been the favourite to take over as Pekerman's successor, but were forced to wait until his contract with Iran expired. The 65-year-old guided Iran to two World Cups before reaching the 2019 Asian Cup semi-finals in January. 

The ex-Manchester United assistant manager has penned a four-year contract with Colombia and will take charge of his first game in March, when they meet Japan in a friendly before they begin their 2019 Copa America campaign.

"It's an honour for me, a feeling of great happiness, for the trust and hope that the federation have placed in my work," he said at a press conference.

"I come here with a lot of humility and I will try to do my best to take good care of the heritage that Colombia has developed as well as its prestige and reputation throughout the world.

"It all starts with the players, they are the most important part of a project.

"Now the priority is selecting the best players, but we will also look at the players of the future. The players who are the heart and soul of Colombia, it's sensible to start with those who are so important in the team."

Colombia are the fifth national team Queiroz has taken over, having also taken in spells at Portugal, United Arab Emirates and South Africa. He spent one season as Real Madrid coach, where he won the Supercopa de Espana. 

Colombia have been drawn in Group B in this year's Copa America and begin the tournament in Brazil with a game against Argentina before meeting Asian Cup champions Qatar and then Paraguay.