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French coach saddened by massacre

09 January 2015, 13:25

Canberra - Oman's French coach Paul Le Guen said he was in shock over this week's Paris massacre as he paused to remember the victims ahead of the Asian Cup on Friday.

Le Guen used his official press conference to pay tribute to the 12 people killed in an Islamist attack on satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Speaking ahead of Oman's Asian Cup opener against South Korea, the ex-Lyon boss sent his condolences to the families grieving in France.

"It's unusual but I want to say one word about what has happened in France," the former Paris Saint-Germain star said, unprompted, at a pre-match press conference in Australia.

"My thoughts are with the families in France who were involved in this drama. We feel very sad, we are in a state of shock about what happened."

Twelve people, including some of France's best known cartoonists, were killed when gunmen stormed Charlie Hebdo's offices in France's capital.

Also read: Arsenal stars hail ‘inspirational’ Henry

Le Guen, who played 17 times for France, said he was focused on Saturday's match at Canberra Stadium but wanted "to send a message to his compatriots at this difficult time".

Lowly Oman are ranked 93 in the world and face a difficult mission to progress from Group A, consisting of hosts Australia, South Korea and underdogs Kuwait.

But Le Guen, who led Lyon to three consecutive French Ligue 1 titles, insisted his team were not at the 16-country tournament just to make up the numbers.

"We know the histories of South Korea and Australia but we have to be ambitious," he said.

"Australia and South Korea are the favourites (to qualify for the knockout stages) but we are here to create trouble and a surprise.

"We're not just here to participate and be kind to everybody."

Oman's most likely route to the knock-out stages would be by defeating Kuwait and grabbing draws with both the hosts and the Koreans.

"If you say I have a draw against Australia and South Korea then give me the paper and I will sign it now!" Le Guen joked.

But he added seriously: "Maybe we can do it. If we play our way and are not afraid in a big stadium with a great atmosphere."

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