SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Former Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza has replaced Bert van Marwijk as head coach of Saudi Arabia just nine days after the Dutchman led the team to its first qualifying spot at a World Cup since 2006.
A win over Japan on Sept. 5 sealed Saudi Arabia’s place at Russia in 2018, but van Marwijk, who took the job in 2015, and the Saudi Arabia Football Federation were unable to agree on a new contract.
The federation announced the decision in a statement Thursday on social media.
“Bauza will lead the Saudi team in the next period that includes participation in World Cup 2018 in Russia and the stages of preparation that precede the (finals),” it said.
According to reports in the Netherlands, Van Marwijk, who led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final, was reluctant to live in Saudi Arabia in the months leading up to the World Cup. The 65-year-old also told Dutch broadcaster NOS that he was unhappy at his employer’s recent actions.
“I ended the negotiations,” he said. “Last week, after qualifying for the World Cup, a number of people were sacked from my staff, which I think is unacceptable. I now hear from the media that there is a successor. So now I know it’s over.”
Bauza was appointed by the United Arab Emirates in May and led the team to victory over Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier on Aug. 31.
The 59-year-old Bauza won the Copa Libertadores, South American’s continental club championship, with two different clubs and was appointed head coach of Argentina in August 2016. With World Cup qualification hopes uncertain, he was fired by the two-time world champions in April.
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