Football: Leading Oman to Asian Cup finals is prime task for Verbeek
December 13, 2016 | 7:34 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan / [email protected] Syed Haitham Hasan / [email protected]

Muscat: Bringing back Oman football to the forefront will be the prime agenda of the newly-appointed Dutch coach Peter Tim Dirk Verbeek, who was unveiled on Tuesday at the Oman Football Association (OFA) headquarters in Seeb.

After a missed chance in the World Cup qualifiers, Oman now has two tasks to deal with next year — the Asian Cup qualifiers in March and the Gulf Cup.

"Reviving the fortunes of Oman will be my prime goal," revealed the Dutchman, who is popularly referred to as Pim Verbeek.

Pim Verbeek, who succeeded Juan Lopez Cara, has vast experience in coaching Asian and Arab teams. He had also experienced the might of Oman, when he last coached Australia. He was also the coach of South Korea prior to his job with the Socceroos.

After signing a two-year contract, Verbeek announced that he will begin his association with the national team from January next year.

“The goal is to bring back Oman to the forefront by leading the team to the Asian Cup finals in 2019 and also prepare the team for the future World Cup qualifiers. This is concurrent with goals of the OFA, the team, and my own,” said Verbeek, speaking to the media.

Though Verbeek only has until end of March for the first AFC Cup qualification game, he is confident in his ability to bring together the best selection of players by then.

“I had six weeks with Australia before their first match, and we won against Qatar in that World Cup qualifier. My target is to have training camps and find players’ strengths to have the best selection for the team,” Verbeek explained.

In addition to his aforementioned stints, Verbeek also has a storied career at club level, having managed football clubs such as Feyenoord Rotterdam, FC Groningen, De Graafschap and the PSV Eindhoven reserves in his native Netherlands, in addition to coaching the reserves for German Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach.

This, however, is not his first spell as coach of an Arab nation. He was the assistant manager of the United Arab Emirates in 2005, and also oversaw the development of Morocco’s Under-23 side between 2010 and 2014.

Given the wealth of knowledge he brings to the national team, Verbeek expressed his support for national team players who went abroad to play their domestic football, because of the experience it would provide them.

“I am currently trying to find the best squad,” he said. “The time is short and I will be selecting players who will perform the best so we can go through into bigger competitions. It is always good to have players taking international experience from other clubs and countries but it is up to the players themselves.”

Meanwhile, the OFA did not reveal much on the technical team and assistant coach who will support Verbeek.

OFA's vice-chairman Jassim Al Shukaili revealed that the search is on for a capable team to complement Verbeek.

“The position will go to an Omani,” he said, adding that the role would be filled in the coming weeks.

“The board has voted unanimously to appoint Verbeek,” he said. “We are confident he will meet the high expectations we have of him.

Oman are currently out of the running for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, having finished second behind heavyweights Iran in Group D, and are ranked 122nd in the world.

Oman are through to the final round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, the draw for which is expected to take place on January 18, 2017.

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