Croatian Ivankovic named new Oman football coach

Muscat: Croatian Branko Ivankovic was announced as the head coach of the Oman national football team by the Oman Football Association (OFA) in Muscat on Sunday.

The post was vacant after Dutchman Erwin Koeman was sacked over Oman’s poor performance in the 24rd Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar. The decision was taken after an OFA board meeting on Sunday. The 65-year-old has signed a two-year deal and will start work with the national team in February, according to the OFA sources.

Once joined, the Croatian who last managed Al Ahli Saudi FC, will decide on the support staff. Assistant coach Muhanna Said al Adawi was the acting head coach until the appointment of Ivankovic.

In the November 26 – December 8 Gulf Cup in Qatar, the ‘Red Warriors’ could not make it to the semifinal stage despite earning four points as eventual champions Bahrain leapfrogged the Sultanate on goal difference in the group round.

Oman had won the prestigious regional title twice before – at home in 2009 under French coach Claude Le Roy and in Kuwait in 2018 under late Dutch coach Pim Verbeek.

Former Iran manager Ivankovic, joined Iran giants Persepolis in 2015 and won Iran Pro League twice in three full seasons with the Reds. He was Iran manager between 2002 – 2006 and led Team Melli to 2006 Fifa World Cup. His side also reached to 2004 AFC Asian Cup semifinals in China.

In 1998 World Cup, Ivankovic was the assistant coach with the Croatian team that finished third. Before being appointed as Oman coach, the experienced coach was reportedly linked with a move to Iran national football team.