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Former Belgium manager Waseige dies at 79

media Robert Waseige managed Belgium at the 2002 World Cup AFP/File

Former Belgium national team manager Robert Waseige died on Wednesday at the age of 79.

The first Walloon coach in the history of the Red Devils had been hospitalised for a week with heart failure and kidney problems, French language RTBF TV reported.

"Belgian football has lost a great personality with the death of Robert Waseige," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted.

Born on August 26, 1939 near Liege, Waseige, nicknamed the "Magician", managed a string of Belgian clubs as well as Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and the Belgian and Algerian national teams.

He won only two trophies, the now discontinued League Cup in 1986 with RFC Liege and the Belgian Cup in 1990 with the same club. But he was named Belgian manager of the year three times.

Waseige took over as national coach in 1999 ahead of Euro-2000, where Belgium were joint hosts but were eliminated in the group phase. At the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, the Belgians finished second to hosts Japan in their group and then lost, 2-0 to Brazil, the eventual champions, in the round of 16.

His playing career was less distinguished. He appeared for RFC Liege, Racing White Brussels, KFC Winterslag and Genk between 1959 and 1973.

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