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Saudi Arabia Appoints Pizzi as National Football Team Coach

Saudi Arabia Appoints Pizzi as National Football Team Coach

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 - 09:00
Juan Antonio Pizzi. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday the appointment of former Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi as head coach of the country’s national football team.

"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."

He replaces Edgardo Bauza, who was surprisingly sacked 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.

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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