A decision that was expected last week was finally announced on Sunday. The Oman Football Association (OFA) sacked the national team coach, Erwin Koeman, following the Red Warriors’ early exit in the recently-concluded 24th Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar.
The decision to end the contract of the Dutchman, who had signed a two-year deal in February, was taken at the OFA board meeting, held under the chairmanship of Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi, on Sunday evening. During the past ten months of his tenure, Koeman led Oman in 12 matches and the team suffered only two defeats under his reign, but the early exit at the Gulf Cup proved to be his undoing.
Keoman had steered Oman to second place in Group E of the ongoing joint 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers with only World Cup hosts Qatar ahead by a point (13) after five games in the five-team pool. The only defeats that came during Koeman’s tenure was against Qatar (1-2) in the World Cup Qualifiers and a 1-3 loss against the eventual Gulf Cup runner-up Saudi Arabia, a result that cost him his job.
Oman had gone into the 24th edition of the Gulf Cup as defending champion and hopes were high from the Red Warriors who were clubbed in a group, which comprised Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Following a goalless draw against Bahrain, which ultimately won the Gulf Cup title for the first time, Oman raised its hopes of a semifinal spot with a 2-1 win over ten-time champions Kuwait. However, its 1-3 defeat at the hands of Saudis meant that Oman had to make an exit at the expense of Bahrain, which advanced on better goal-difference.
Speaking to Muscat Daily on Sunday after the board meeting, Said Othman al Balushi, chief executive and general secretary of the OFA, said, “There were four major decisions taken at the meeting held under the chairmanship of Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi.
“The first decision was ending the contract of senior national team coach, Erwin Koeman, with immediate effect. However, the other coaching staff, including his assistant, Muhanna Said al Alawi, will continue till the arrival of the next head coach.
“We will let the next head coach to decide on the other members of the coaching staff. We have already begun the process of hiring a new head coach and our technical team has started receiving applications. A decision will soon be taken though no time frame has been fixed.”
Koeman’s sacking comes a week after UAE’s coach, Bert van Marwijk, exit. The Dutchman was also axed following the team’s defeat to Qatar in the Gulf Cup. U19 coach Sabahi axed The OFA board also decided to remove the complete coaching staff of U19 national team, headed by Yaqoob Sabahi, after the team failed to advance to the AFC U20 Championship 2020 in Uzbekistan following a disappointing display during the Group A Qualifiers held in Muscat recently.
Oman finished fourth in the five-team event with only one victory in the Qualifiers, which was won by Iraq. FIFA project approved Meanwhile, the OFA board also announced that a hotel-cum-technical centre will come up at Seeb Sports Stadium as part of the FIFA development programme.
The board said that the plan for a 50-room hotel along with the technical centre has been approved following a grant of nearly US$3.7mn from FIFA. The board members also approved the budget of 2020.
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