Armenia have ended their search to replace Vardan Minasyan by appointing experienced Swiss coach Bernard Challandes to take charge of their national side.
The 62-year-old has signed a two-year contract to lead the team during UEFA EURO 2016 qualification after former coach Minasyan decided in October not to sign a new deal with the Football Federation of Armenia (HFF) despite encouraging UEFA EURO 2012 and 2014 World Cup qualifying campaigns.
“Our team needed an experienced coach because the Armenian national team are now stronger than ever,” said FFA president Ruben Hayrapetyan. “Our team are capable of competing with big opponents on any day. We negotiated with 49 coaches and chose Bernard Challandes, who surprised me personally with his knowledge about our international team.”
Challandes started his coaching career in 1977 and was at the helm of FC Yverdon-Sport, BSC Young Boys and Servette FC among others before being recruited by the Swiss Football Association (SFV-ASF) in 1995. He took charge of the Swiss Under-21 team in 2001 and led them to the semi-finals of the UEFA European U21 Championship in 2002.
He moved on to FC Zürich in 2007 and was named Switzerland’s Coach of the Year in 2009 after guiding them to a 12th championship. He followed that by claiming the Swiss Cup with FC Sion in 2011 before working at Neuchâtel Xamax FC and FC Thun.
Armenia were drawn in the tricky UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group I alongside Portugal, Denmark, Serbia and Albania. They begin their campaign in Denmark on 7 September with their first home game against Serbia to follow on 11 October.
Challandes will arrive in Armenia on March 1. Former head coach Vardan Minasyan will prepare the team for the upcoming friendly with Russia scheduled for March 5.