Pim Verbeek takes charge as Oman coach

Pim Verbeek flanked by Maqbool al Balushi (left) and Waleed al Saadi at the Nizwa Sports Complex on Friday

Oman's new national football coach, Dutchman Pim Verbeek, who arrived in Muscat earlier this week to take charge of the Red Warriors, wasted little time to get into work mode. 

On Friday, the 60 year old coach travelled to Nizwa with the national team manager Maqbool al Balushi and assistant coach Waleed al Saadi to watch the quarterfinal of the Mazda Professional Cup between current Omantel Professional League (OPL) leader Al Shabab and Al Nasr at the Nizwa Sports Complex.

Salalah giant Al Nasr upset Shabab 1-0 to advance to the semifinals and was joined by Al Nahda, which shocked Dhofar 1-0 at the Al Saa'da Sports Complex in Salalah on Friday.
And on Saturday, Sohar reached the semifinals with a 3-1 win over Muscat at the Nizwa Sports Complex. Verbeek was in the stands to watch the other quarterfinal match between Al Arouba and Al Suwaiq at the Sur Sports Complex on Saturday.

Arouba edged past Suwaiq 3-1 in a penalty shootout after the teams were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation and extra time.

Verbeek, who signed a two-year deal with the Oman Football Association (OFA) last month, is expected to keep an eye on domestic matches and the forthcoming CISM Military Football World Cup before calling a national team camp next month.


Action from the Mazda Cup match between Shabab and Nasr on Friday

The Oman team for the CISM event comprises a good number of national team players and Verbeek will be closely watching the Mazda Cup and the military tournament to get first-hand knowledge of the existing and aspiring national team players.

In his remarks to Muscat Daily, Verbeek said, β€œI am looking forward to working with the Omani players. I plan to watch domestic games and the Military World Cup before calling the players for the first camp.”

His first challenge will be the Asian Cup qualifier in March and said that the next few weeks will be spent taking a good look at the players in action with respect to national team selection. The Dutchman - who steered Australia at the 2010 World Cup - succeeded Spain's Juan Ramon Lopez Caro.

It marks a return to Asian football for Verbeek, who previously coached South Korea and was an assistant to Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat before succeeding the latter for that country's top job.

But he is best known for his three years as Socceroos coach. Under Verbeek, the Socceroos qualified for the 2010 World Cup, but lost all three group-stage matches.

His last job was a fouryear stint as technical director at the Moroccan football federation.

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