By Haridev Pusphparaj
Dutchman and former Australia coach Peter Tim Dirk Verbeek has emerged as the frontrunner to take on the mantle as the coach of the Oman national football team, according to Oman Football Association sources. After the OFA Board under Chairman Shaikh Salim al Wahaibi met for a five-hour long meeting on Sunday, the board decided to shortlist Verbeek for negotiations and has kept Bosnian Safet Susic as the second option. The 60-year-old Verbeek is a surprise contender considering his name was not there in the original nine-man list. But it seems the OFA are looking at giving him a chance to change the fortunes of the ‘Red Warriors’. The OFA is expected to make a
final announcement regarding the appointment of the coach within a week after negotiations with Verbeek. OFA Chairman Shaikh Salim Al Wahaibi said discussions and negotiations would be held with Verbeek in the coming days. “He (Verbeek) is expected to be here in two or three days. We will have discussions about his vision and talk about the terms of his contract. He is the number one candidate as of now to be the coach,’’ the OFA chairman said. Talking about his expectations from the new coach, Shaikh Salim Al Wahaibi said he wants to see the development of a good team. “We have the Asian Cup qualifiers and later the Gulf Cup in late 2017, so I would like the new coach to prepare a good, strong team,’’ he added.
Verbeek has held various coaching assignments in The Netherlands since the early 80s working with top Dutch club Feyenoord in 1989. He was assistant coach of the South Korean team that beat Italy in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. Verbeek’s association with South Korea extended to the 2005-2006 season when he was the assistant coach again. In the following season, Verbeek became the head coach of the Koreans. From 2007 to 2010, Verbeek had a coaching stint with the Australian national team that yielded mixed results. Although very unlikely OFA’s alternative, if the Verbeek deal fails, is an impressive option too. Susic is a legend in Bosnian football, one of their greatest and most experienced players and coached Bosnia into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Oman will hugely benefit from the pedigree and experience of either of these coaches and it remains to be seen how the national team will respond to the new coach. The ‘Red Warriors’ have a busy season ahead of them with the Asian Cup qualifiers and other international engagements and Verbeek, if confirmed, will have his work cut out. Former coach Spaniard Juan Ramon Lopez Caro departed after deciding not to renew his one-year contract. Lopez Caro was appointed under the dispensation of former chairman Sayyid Khalid al Busaidy. But after the new OFA board was elected under the chairmanship of Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi, Lopez Caro took the decision to leave. Oman will usher in the new year with a new coach at the helm of affairs, hoping to bring about a new vigour in the national team.