Qatar coach Troussier sacked

2004-07-20 08:49

Beijing - Qatar coach Philippe Troussier was sacked here on Tuesday, paying the price for his team's disastrous start to the Asian Cup.

The experienced Frenchman, who saw Qatar crash to a shock 2-1 defeat against Indonesia on Sunday, had already announced his decision to step down after the tournament.

But the upset Group A loss to the Indonesians was enough to convince Troussier's Qatari paymasters that a swift parting of company was in the best interests of the team.

A Qatar Football Association source confirmed that an agreement had been reached to terminate Troussier's contract. A press conference was due to be held later on Tuesday.

Saeed Al-Meshed is now likely to be in charge for Qatar's second game against Bahrain on Wednesday, a game Qatar must win to have any realistic chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

It completes a miserable reversal of fortune for 49-year-old Troussier, who had guided Japan to victory in the 2000 Asian Cup before leading them into the last 16 of the World Cup two years later.

Troussier, famously known as the 'white witchdoctor' during a successful coaching spell in Africa with Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and South Africa, was hired by Qatar on a lucrative two-year deal last July.

But it was not long before the strict disciplinarian came into conflict with Qatari players and officials.

Troussier irked players by forcing them to wear team tracksuits during training camps and tournaments, as well as imposing a strict dietary regime.

The Frenchman was known to be unhappy by the fitness levels of some members of the national squad when he took over, with at least one player reportedly registering levels of cholesterol equivalent to those of someone in their 40s.

Yet moves to modernise Qatari football off the pitch were not matched by positive results on it, with Troussier's team suffering crucial defeats to Iran and Jordan in World Cup qualifiers earlier this year.