Muscat: Oman national team coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro may be on his way out as the Oman Football Association (OFA) has decided to ‘review his contract’ in the coming days.
Lopez Caro, a former Real Madrid manager, has took over the reins of Oman team back in January following the sacking of Frenchman Paul le Guen. But the Spaniard has come under fire after a string of not so impressive performances by the national team, leading to speculation that new OFA board under chairman Sheikh Salim Al Wahaibi will soon show the exit to the Lopez Caro.
Sheikh Salim, whose manifesto included raising the level of national team’s performance, however rejected the talk that OFA board is looking to oust the coach but instead said: ‘we will only be reviewing his contract’.
“It is a normal procedure. It’s time to review the performance of the team in the past months and assess the coach’s contribution,” Sheikh Salim said.
“His (Lopez Caro’s) current contract will end in January. So that will also come up for discussion and we will have to review that as well,” he said.
Sheikh Salim was also quick to add: “I am not saying he will go or he will stay. But what I want to say is that we will review the performance of the team as well as the contract of the coach.”
The OFA chief said the review will be done after the forthcoming away friendly matches against Japan (November 11) and Myanmar (November 14).
“We will be playing a strong team like Japan and that will be followed by a match against Myanmar. After that there won’t be any FIFA Days till the next round of Asian Cup qualifiers, which will start in March. These two friendly matches will be our last chance to assess the full-strength team against strong opponents.
“Since there is not much time before the Asian Cup qualifiers, we need to sit down, assess the situation and plan for the future,” he added.
Lopez Caro took over the team with just two matches left in the second round of the joint 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers. Though his stint started with a narrow 1-0 win over Guam, Oman lost their final group qualifier to Iran 2-0 which ended their World Cup qualifying dream.
The Spaniard then took the team to Northern Ireland for a training camp, during which the Sultanate squad were routed 4-0 by their hosts in an international friendly match while in recent friendlies they struggled to hold Bahrain and Jordan in 2-2 and 1-1 draws respectively.
New technical director
Meanwhile, it is learnt that OFA is scrutinising the applications of three Omanis for the post of Technical Director following the resignation of Australian expert Jim Selby.
Former Oman national team coach Khalid Al Lahori is among those who is hoping to take up the job, the others being Ahmed Al Balushi and Hisham Al Adwani.