Qatar drops football coach Bruno Metsu
Qatar fired charismatic football coach Bruno Metsu on Thursday because of the team's Asian Cup quarterfinal loss to Japan.
The desert nation, which will host the World Cup in 2022, was widely expected to hire a big-name coach who will be tasked with overhauling a side ranked 90th in the FIFA world rankings. A replacement for Metsu, who had a contract through 2014, was to be named in the next week.
Metsu has struggled since taking over in 2008 from Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati. The team missed out on the 2010 World Cup and last year fell in the quarterfinal stage at the Gulf Cup, which sent its ranking tumbling to 114th - its worst ever.
The country improved to 90th after its Asian Cup performance but it was not enough to save the job of Metsu, a Frenchman who guided Senegal to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
Qatar was praised for overcoming an opening loss to Uzbekistan to reach the quarterfinals but Metsu also angered fans after his team squandered a 2-1 lead against 10-man Japan.
''We thank him for his efforts. But we feel this is a time to move on so we mutually agreed to end the contract,'' Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani said.
Metsu said it was difficult to build a team with so few prospects in a country of 1.6 million.
''It is not easy to build a strong team when there is a small player base in the country,'' Metsu said. ''But Qatar football is looking better because they now have a 12-team league and that means more players and improved infrastructure of football in the country.''
Before taking over the Qatar national team, Metsu coached in the country's professional football league.
Metsu is the latest coach to be fired by Qatar after failing to impress at the Asian Cup. In 2004, Qatar fired Phillipe Troussier during the Asian Cup in China.