Pim Verbeek will quit as Australia’s head coach after the World Cup in South Africa.
Verbeek, the first permanent head coach appointed following the departure of fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink after Australia’s second-round exit at the 2006 World Cup, announced his decision yesterday in a statement released by Football Federation Australia.
“It has been a very difficult decision for me after more than two years but it is time for me to look for a new challenge,” said Verbeek, who quit as South Korea coach to take the Australian job in December 2007. “I have enjoyed every minute of being head coach of Australia and we achieved some fantastic results including qualifying for the World Cup and the Asian Cup.”
“It is a good time to make this announcement so we can now focus completely on preparing everything perfectly for the World Cup,” Verbeek said.
Speculation about his future has been swirling around the Australian media for several months, with some commentators saying a perceived lack of talent coming through the ranks had forced Verbeek’s decision.
Mark Schwarzer, Scott Chipperfield and Craig Moore plan to retire from the national team after South Africa, where Australia will play in Group D against Germany, Serbia and Ghana.
Senior players Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Mark Bresciano and Vincenzo Grella also have not committed to any plans to be involved in the qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014.
Verbeek has guided the Socceroos to 15 wins, eight draws and four losses in 27 matches since taking over on Dec. 6, 2007.
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