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St Gallen appoint new boss

Castella faces a tough challenge at St Gallen Keystone Archive

St Gallen football club have named Gérard Castella as their new team coach, following Marcel Koller's move to Grasshoppers Zurich.

The 49-year-old Genevan has signed a two-year contract with the side from eastern Switzerland and is due to start work on Monday.

St Gallen were forced to seek a new trainer after failing to persuade Koller to stay at the club.

A board of 21 members voted unanimously for the former Servette coach, who is to be the first French-speaking Swiss to coach the German-speaking team.

Castella is considered very experienced in his work as a coach and used to play for top division teams like Servette, the Young Boys and Lausanne.

In 1998/1999 Servette won the Swiss champion’s title under Castella, however, he was forced to leave due to internal problems and bad results in the European Cup in Lucien Favre.

“I am very proud that I, as a French-speaking Swiss, was given the chance to train a team from eastern Switzerland,” he said after the announcement on Sunday.

Top team

“St Gallen is one of the top teams in the country and has the best audience in Switzerland. I am looking forward to my new work and I will try to promote the team even further. My goal is always to win,” he said.

Having steered the Swiss minnows to the league title in 2000, former coach Koller was frustrated to see several members of the championship-winning side being sold off to bigger clubs.

While Koller will be looking to help Grasshoppers defend the domestic title which they won under Hans-Peter Zaugg last season, Castella must now concentrate on the necessary rebuilding work at St Gallen.

Other candidates for the post were Pierre-André Schürmann and Heinz Peischl.

swissinfo with agencies

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