National football coach Lopez Caro not to renew contract in January

The national football team coach, Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, has put to rest any further speculation on his association with the Red Warriors by confirming that he would not renew his contract with the Oman Football Association (OFA).

In an exclusive talk with Muscat Daily, the 53 year old Spaniard said, “I will not be renewing my contract with the Oman Football Association.”

Lopez Caro had been hired by the previous OFA chairman Sayyid Khalid al Busaidy in January on a one-year contract. However, since the new board under Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi was elected in September, there have been speculations on the future of the former Real Madrid and Saudi Arabia coach.

The OFA chairman, Wahaibi, had announced recently that the board will review Lopez Caro’s performance before taking a decision to renew his deal.

The public statement by the OFA chief during the draw ceremony of the His Majesty’s Cup last week was enough hint for Lopez Caro to announce his departure on Sunday.

“I had a satisfactory spell with the national team and I am thankful to all for making my stay comfortable in Oman,” he said.

Lopez Caro was hired with an aim to lead Oman to the next round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and to the next round of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

While Oman failed to advance to the next round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, it did qualify for the next round of the Asian Cup.

The former Real Madrid boss, began his Oman stint with a win over Guam but then lost to Iran to end the team’s hopes of World Cup. His overall record till date has been two wins, two losses and four draws in the eight games as the national team coach.

Lopez Caro said that a lot of work needs to be done at the club level and blamed the poor domestic football structure as the biggest hurdle in the growth of the national team.

The coach said that he would lead the team to the forthcoming friendlies against Japan on November 11 and against Myanmar on November 14. “I will see through my contract, which ends in January. I have had good relations with the players and officials. I tried my best in the challenging circumstances and the limited time I had with the national team,” he said.

Oman’s ranking has slipped since Lopez Caro took over in January when the Red Warriors were placed 99th. Oman is currently ranked 129th when the FIFA list was released last month. Lopez Caro had taken over the reigns from Frenchman Paul Le Guen, who was sacked in November 2015.

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