Rijkaard sacked as Saudi football coach

Rijkaard sacked as Saudi football coach
Updated 30 January 2013

Rijkaard sacked as Saudi football coach

Rijkaard sacked as Saudi football coach

RIYADH: The Saudi Football Federation fired the national team’s Dutch manager Frank Rijkaard on Wednesday following the kingdom's poor performance in last week's 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations in Bahrain.
Federation chairman Ahmed Eid Al-Harbi said the decision to sack Rijkaard came after a vote by a majority of members of the federation.
Al-Harbi said the federation appointed Saudi-Spanish Union football expert Sergio as the first coach and assigned Salman al-Quraini as a supervisor.
Sports analysts had predicted Rijkaard's sacking after Saudi Arabia failed to reach group stage, losing 2-0 to Iraq and 1-0 to Kuwait. It's sole victory was over Yemen, 2-0.
Saudi Arabia signed a three-year deal in July 2011 with Rijkaard after the national team was eliminated from the Asian Cup, capped by a 5-0 defeat by Japan.
He replaced Nassir al-Johar, who was dismissed after that campaign, described by local media as the lowest point in the kingdom's football history after appearing in four World Cups.
The Saudi team failed to make it to the 2010 World Cup and it fell to 92nd in the FIFA world rankings from a high of 23rd in 2004.
Under Rijkaard's stewardship, however, the kingdom's ranking fell down farther to 126th.
Rijkaard’s contract with Saudi Arabia was reportedly worth $9 million, with a penalty clause of more than $4 million in case of dismissal.
But the head of the kingdom’s sports body, Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, who was the head of the football federation when former Barcelona boss Rijkaard was hired in July 2011, has said that he is willing to foot the bill of ending Rijkaard’s three-year contract.
Rijkaard is the second manager to lose his job at the championship after Qatar announced the dismissal of Brazilian coach Paulo Autuori on Tuesday following the team’s elimination in the first round.