Jose Pekerman has been appointed the new coach of Argentina, the country’s football association (AFA) president Julio Grondona has confirmed.

Pekerman, 55, takes over from Marcelo Bielsa who resigned on Tuesday.

“I am very flattered that they thought of me,” said Pekerman who led Argentina to the world youth titles in 1997, 1999 and 2001.

“We are at the halfway stage of the World Cup qualifying campaign and there is a lot of work to do.”

Argentina are second in the South American qualifying competition for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, a point behind Brazil, but they look on course to qualify for the finals.

Pekerman’s first matches in charge will be the qualifiers on October 9 and 11 against Uruguay and Chile respectively.

Pekerman was offered the job of coach after the AFA’s original candidate, Carlos Bianchi, rejcted their approach.

The vacancy arose when Bielsa announced his resignation on Tuesday. His decision to stand down was as a shock, coming just over two weeks after guiding the Argentines to their first ever Olympic title.