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Ghotbi to assist Kluivert with Curacao World Cup tie

WILLEMSTAD--Former Iran boss Afshin Ghotbi has signed up to assist Curacao manager Patrick Kluivert for the Caribbean island's World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador next month.

Ghotbi, who has previously held assistant coach roles with the United States and South Korea, had been out of work since leaving Japanese club Shimzu S Pulse last year. The 51-year-old was optimistic of success with the former Netherlands, AC Milan and Barcelona striker Kluivert, believing Curacao could surprise in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying having already knocked out Cuba in the previous round.

"He (Kluivert) is a fantastic guy and a global star, upcoming young coach," Ghotbi, who left the Iran job in 2011, told Japan's Kyodo News. "I will do my best to support him. Nobody expects this team to do well, so it would be a Cinderella story. Most players are from Europe, and the quality of the players are higher than most people expect. I think Curacao has a bigger chance than most people think."

Curacao, who became FIFA members in 2011, host El Salvador on Sept. 4 with the return leg four days later.

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