Verbeek resigns as Oman coach

In a surprising development, Gulf Cup-winning Oman football coach Pim Verbeek resigned from his post on Wednesday.

The 62 year old Dutchman, who took over the national team reins in January 2017, and had his contract extended last year till June 2020, offered his resignation to the Oman Football Association (OFA) chairman Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi.

Wahaibi called an emergency meeting of the OFA board on Wednesday and accepted the Dutchman’s resignation.

In his remarks to Muscat Daily , Wahaibi said, “Pim [Verbeek] resigned on personal reasons as he wanted to spend more time with his family in Holland. The board agreed to accept his resignation and wished him good luck.

“He had a successful tenure with the national team, having led our boys to the second Gulf Cup title in Kuwait in January 2018. Even in the recent Asian Cup in UAE, he led the team to the knockout [last-16] stage for the first time in our history.”

The former Australia and South Korea coach was known to be a master tactician and commanded respect among his peers for his qualities.

The soft-spoken lanky coach managed to build a strong and fighting Red Warriors unit, which impressed with its never-say-die spirit and cohesive display.

The Dutchman, despite the semi-professional structure of the domestic league, managed to pick up a balanced side comprising talented youth and experienced players who delivered even against strong teams.

The Gulf Cup triumph, only the second time Oman had won after 2009 maiden success at home, turned Verbeek a hero and a household name.

In his remarks to Muscat Daily  after the title, Verbeek had said, “It was a great result, as no one expected it. But I think we deserved it - we beat all the big teams, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and in the final we played against the UAE and won on penalties. It was fantastic for the country. It’s a small country, and if you beat your neighbours in a big tournament, then everyone is pleased.”

At the recent Asian Cup, Oman was clubbed with ultimate runner-up Japan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in Group F. It lost two close games against the Uzbekistan (1-2) and Japan (0-1) but recorded a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan to write a new chapter in its football history as it progressed to the last-16 stage for the first time in its four previous attempts.

However, it fell short as it came up against Iran (0-2) in last-16 to bow out, a result that was received with mixed reactions at home.

The OFA chief, Wahaibi, made it clear on Wednesday that ‘his departure had nothing to do with the Asian Cup performance’.

Wahaibi said, “Verbeek told me that he would like to finish his long coaching career as Oman coach.”

The OFA chief said that Muhanna Said al Adawi, Verbeek’s current assistant, will be the interim coach till a successor is appointed by March.

Verbeek thanks fans

The Dutchman, who had guided Australia to the 2010 World Cup, released a statement on his exit from Oman on Wednesday.

He said, “Two years ago Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi, chairman of Oman FA, asked me to come to Oman to build up a new team. Together with my staff we had a fantastic journey with winning the Gulf Cup and making history at the Asian Cup.

“As a coach I am used to taking decisions, but the decision to leave Oman was a very difficult one.

“I have been working abroad for the last 20 years and after everything we achieved the last two years it is a good moment to finish my career as a coach and go home.”

The accessible coach said, “Success has many fathers. So first of all I like to thank the board of OFA for their great support during my time with the national team.

“And, of course, we should never forget that everything we achieved would have never been possible without my staff who have been so important to me and to the players. Last, but not least, I like to thank our fantastic fans who have made the tournaments and my years in Oman unforgettable.”


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