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Helena’s the first!

Paris: Portuguese Helena Costa will be the first woman in charge of a men’s professional team in France after she was named Ligue II side Clermont Foot’s head coach on Wednesday.

“Helena Costa will coach Clermont Foot next season,” the club said in a statement.

Costa, 39, is the present manager of the Iran national women’s team, having scouted for Celtic and managed the Qatar national women’s team as well. “It should help the club enter a new era,” Clermont added.

Clermont are 14th in Ligue II with two matches to go. “It’s a big surprise... It comes from nowhere,” forward Remy Dugimont was quoted as saying by L’Equipe, on its website.

“We’ll have to learn to know her. We hope it is going to be fine, but I don’t think there is problem.”

Defender Anthony Lippini added: “I can’t wait for next season to discover this. Being the first professional players to be coached by a woman will be a unique experience.”

Roma have had two women chairpersons, Rosella Sensi and Fiora Viola, with the latter replacing her husband Dino Viola after he died in 1991, while in Switzerland, Gisela Oeri was president of FC Basel for five years from 2006. (REUTERS)