First Published: 2017-11-28

Saudi names Pizzi to lead them at World Cup
Saudi Arabia names former Chile coach Pizzi as third coach in three months to lead them at summer’s World Cup having sacked Bauza last week.
Middle East Online

Former Barcelona striker Pizzi coached Chile to the 2016 Copa America title

RIYADH - Former Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi was named as Saudi Arabia's third head coach in as many months on Tuesday, after Edgardo Bauza's surprise sacking last week.

Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia at the World Cup, having resigned as Chile coach after failing to take the two-time defending Copa America champions to Russia.

Pizzi, an Argentinian, takes over a Saudi team that Dutchman Bert van Marwijk led to World Cup qualification before leaving in September over a contract dispute. Bauza, another Argentinian, took over but his short stay was ended due to poor friendly results.

Former Barcelona striker Pizzi, 49, coached Chile to the 2016 Copa America title and also coached Valencia between 2013-14.

"We wanted Pizzi because of his achievements in the past and his ambitions for the future," Saudi Arabian Football Federation president Abdel bin Mohammed Ezzat said in a statement.

"We will do all we can to support him during preparations for the World Cup."

Pizzi will represent Saudi Arabia at the World Cup draw in Moscow on Friday, as the Asian nation prepare for a first finals appearance since 2006.

Saudi Arabia, whose best World Cup effort came with a run to the last 16 on their tournament debut in 1994, booked their ticket for Russia by finishing second to Japan in Asian qualifying Group B.

 

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