Bogota: Former Argentina coach Nestor Pekerman has been put in charge of Colombia's bid to end a 16-year wait to reach the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.

Pekerman, who steered his country to the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals in Germany, was named on Thursday to replaced Leonel Alvarez, sacked following Colombia's 2-1 home defeat by Argentina in their last qualifier in November.

"The Colombian Football Federation's (FCF) executive committee, headed by its president Luis Bedoya, has reached an agreement in the last few hours for Argentine Jose Nestor Pekerman to become the new coach of the senior Colombia team," a FCF statement said.

"In the coming hours we expect the definitive signing of the contract that will link him to the national team that is taking part in the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014."

Colombia, who have not reached the World Cup finals since 1998 in France, began their 2014 campaign well with a 2-1 away win over Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz in October but Alvarez's team then dropped five points at home in a 1-1 draw with Venezuela and the loss to Argentina.

Pekerman, a former Argentinos Juniors midfielder who ended his playing career in Colombia with Independiente Medellin at the age of 28 after a knee injury, made his name as coach of Argentina's under-20 side winning three World Youth championships between 1995 and 2001.

His 2006 Argentina side, which included Juan Roman Riquelme as midfield general and a teenaged Lionel Messi making occasional appearances off the bench, lost on penalties to hosts Germany after a 1-1 draw in their Berlin quarter-final.

Pekerman has coached at club level in Argentina, Chile and Mexico.

Copa America holders Uruguay lead the South American World Cup qualifying group jointly with Argentina and Venezuela on seven points each.

Ecuador and Chile have six points, Colombia and Paraguay four, Peru three and Bolivia one.