Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Bottom side Betis name ex-player to replace fired coach

Reuters, MADRID

Struggling Real Betis Balompie have given Argentine Gabriel Humberto Calderon, who used to play at the La Liga club, the task of saving them from relegation.

Betis sacked Juan Carlos Garrido on Sunday after a mere month-and-a-half in charge and Calderon, who has coached Saudi Arabia, will take over until the end of the campaign, with an option for another season if the Seville-based side avoid the drop.

“The coach ... has already signed his contract for what remains of this season and one more year if top-flight status is assured,” Betis said on their Web site yesterday. “Without time to lose, Gabi Calderon will take charge of the team and has already prepared a double training session to prepare for [Friday’s] match against Celta [de] Vigo.”

Calderon played for Betis between 1983 and 1987 and represented Argentina at the World Cups in 1982 and 1990.

“This has always been my dream,” he said on Betis’ site.

A former Villarreal boss, Garrido was appointed at the beginning of last month to replace the popular Pepe Mel, who has since taken over Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, but failed to turn things around.

Betis qualified for the Europa League after finishing seventh in La Liga under Mel last season and face Russian side Rubin Kazan in the last 32 next month.

However, they are at the bottom of the league with just more than half the season played and were routed 5-0 at home to Real Madrid on Saturday.

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