New Esperance coach Decastel faces "huge challenge"

By Mourad TeyebBBC Sport, Tunis
Esperance being beaten at the Club World Cup
Esperance had a brilliant season at home and across Africa but came unstuck at the Club World Cup in Japan at the end of the year

The new coach of African champions Esperance, Michel Decastel, admits "a huge challenge is awaiting" him as he takes over at the club.

The former Wydad Casablanca boss replaces Nabil Maloul as coach of the team who beat his previous club in the 2011 African Champions League final and won a domestic double last year.

This will be the second time Decastel has managed Esperance and he said he remained "close friends" with the club's fans and officials.

"I know everybody here, and I'm aware of the club's expectations and I think I can continue the excellent job done by Esperance this year", he told a press conference in the club's headquarters in Tunis.

"Esperance won three titles and I believe the fourth one (the African Super Cup in February) is possible if we continue to work with the same seriousness and make more sacrifices".

The Swiss coach said his squad is "good" but acknowledged he will need one or two new players.

On Thursday, Decastel resigned from Wydad Athletic of Casablanca where he had come under huge pressure since losing the Champions League crown to Esperance.

The 56-year-old Swiss previously coached Esperance from 2001-2003, and led them to victory in the Tunisia Cup in 2002.

He then worked at another Tunisian side, Club Sfaxien, from 2004 to 2006 and in the 2007-2008 season - winning the league and the cup in 2005 and the CAF Cup in 2007.

Before leaving Tunisia for Zamalek in Egypt, Decastel managed Etoile du Sahel during the 2008-2009 season.

Nabil Maloul left Esperance to return to a television career despite such a hugely successful season, which was marred only by the side's poor showing at the Club World Cup.