Saudi Arabia sack Peseiro after first game at Asian Cup


Doha : Saudi Arabian football officials Sunday fired coach Jose Peseiro after the team was stunned 2-1 by Syria in their Asian Cup Group B opener earlier in the evening.

Support TwoCircles

The Saudi news agency SPA said that the Portuguese Peseiro had been releaved of his duties with immediate effect and that Nasser Al-Johar would coach the team for the two final group games against Japan and Jordan.

It is the fifth time that Al-Johar, who was appointed technical director after stepping down as national coach in February 2009, will be in charge of the national team.

In a statement the president of the Saudi football association Prince Sultan Bin Fahd Bin Abdulaziz said that Peseiro had made mistakes.

“It was necessary to correct these mistakes. He chose the wrong tactics for the game against Syria and a squad that was not suitable for the game.

“We needed to correct that. It was clear that the style he adopted against the Syrians paralyzed the players. This became clear during the match.

“We had to correct this mistake which is why we let him go,” Prince Sultan Bin Fahd Bin Abdulaziz said.

A short while before being fired Peseiro had faced a barrage of criticism during the post-match press conference and was asked whether he accepted responsibility for the defeat.

“Do you take responsibility for the defeat, and if you do, are you going to resign?” a Saudi Arabian reporter asked him, while another questioned whether they were to blame for the defeat.

The 50-year-old, for whom Saudi Arabia was the first position as national team coach, fought back. “I am not playing against the media, I am playing against Japan, Jordan and Syria.

“It was not a good result, but we did not play all that badly. We showed some good spirit and we deserved a better result,” he said, adding that he thought the team could still go through.

“I believe in this team, I believe we are winners. If we beat Jordan and Japan in our next two matches we will go through to the next phase,” he said at the time, obviously not know what lay ahead.

Saudi Arabia has a history of firing coaches during – and immediately after – competitions.

In 1998, Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira was sacked during the World Cup, while two years later Czech Milan Macala was dismissed after the Saudis lost their opening Asian Cup game 4-1 against Japan.

Al-Johar took over at the time and managed to get the team into the final, where they lost to Japan.

Four years later Gerard Van der Lem was axed immediately after Saudi Arabia were knocked out in the first round of the Asian Cup following a 2-1 defeat against Iraq.

It was the first time in their history that the team had been knocked out in the first round.

Saudi Arabia are currently last in Group B, three points behind Syria. Japan and Jordan, who played to a 1-1 draw, are joint-second with one point.

Saudi Arabia has changed national team coaches 27 times in the last 20 years.