Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Saudi Arabia Fire Coach

With just seven months to go till the World Cup, Saudi Arabia decided to fire their coach. They say this was due to the team’s poor performance in the West Asian Games. Saudi Arabia lost to Iraq in the semi-finals and Iran in the third place match.

Coach Gabriel Calderon has been replaced with Brazilian Marcos Paqueta. Calderon lead the team on an impressive qualifying run that saw the side go 12 matches without a defeated. They also beat South Korea (one of the top Asian teams) in both the home and away meeting.

The Saudis are in Group G with Spain, Ukraine and Tunisia. This is a group in which they might be able to make some noise. It seems very short sided to fire a guy due one bad tournament. In all, they played four matches in the West Asian Games. They won their first and then lost the next three. To freak out over this seems a bit much especially when you look at their much harder qualifying round.

Paqueta has a very difficult task ahead of him. To come into a system seven months before the big show is difficult. I think this move weakens Saudi Arabia's chances of moving out of the group phase in Germany.

Paqueta coached Al Hilal to the Saudi league and cup double last season and is former Brazilian U20 and U17 coach.


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