Muscat: Dutchman Peter Tim Dirk Verbeek, popularly known as Pim Verbeek, on Sunday emerged the surprise frontrunner to succeed Spaniard Juan Ramon Lopez Caro as Oman national football team coach.
The Oman Football Association (OFA) board members had a lengthy meeting on Sunday to finalise the name from the four shortlisted candidates from among the nine European applicants but the meeting that concluded late in the night saw them further pruning the list two -- Verbeek as the first option and experienced Bosnian coach Safet Sušić the second.
Initially there was a bit of confusion over the two names revealed by the OFA via their official twitter account. But once it was cleared by another tweet, Verbeek emerged as a surprise inclusion as he was not in the original nine-man list of applicants issued by the OFA, though it was not the case with Safet Susic.
When contacted by Times Sport right after the meeting, OFA chief Sheikh Salim Al Wahaibi confirmed that Verbeek and Susic as the two names selected by the board members.
Indicating that Verbeek will be the first choice, Sheikh Salim said: “We will be having negotiations with Verbeek in the coming days. He will come here and after discussing the details we will finalise the deal.”
At the same time, Sheikh Salim said: “We have to discuss the terms and agree to those terms. If it doesn’t work we will also be having negotiations with Susic.”
Verbeek, who had several coaching stints with various clubs including Feyenoord, had previously coached South Korean national team in 2006-7 before taking over the Australian team from 2007 to 2010 during which the Socceroos qualified and played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Susic played for former Yugoslavia between 1977 and 1990 scoring 21 goals in 54 matches before going on to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina in two games in 1993. He went on to coach his national side Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2009 to 2014.
Sheikh Salim also revealed that once the coach’s name is finalised the board will decide on his assistant, who will be an Omani coach, and the goalkeeper trainer who will be selected after discussions with the new coach.