DOHA: Qatar confirmed on Saturday that Jorge Fossati is the new national team coach, tasked with trying to revive the country’s fading hopes of making its first ever World Cup finals in Russia in 2018.
The appointment was confirmed in a message posted on Twitter by the Qatar Football Association, which read simply: “Mr Jorge Fossati is back officially to be the head coach of our national team.”
The amiable 63-year-old Uruguayan was formerly in charge of Qatar between 2007 and 2008, though that ended somewhat sourly when he lost his job while still recovering from surgery.
He replaces compatriot Jose Daniel Carreno who had guided Qatar through to the third round of AFC qualifying for Russia 2018, but lost his job after back-to-back defeats against Iran and Uzbekistan which have left Qatar’s hopes of making the World Cup in Russia in two years’ time in serious trouble.
Qatar are not averse to changing managers — Fossati is the 10th coach in 10 years of the national side.
Fossati is highly rated in the Gulf, and has also coached in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Last season he took Al Rayyan, one of Qatar’s biggest clubs, to the Qatar Stars League after a gap of 20 years without winning the championship.
On Friday, Fossati said he was willing to help Qatar try and get to the World Cup finals.
“Nobody has offered me anything officially, but Qatar is a special country for me and i will help if I can,” he said.
It had been speculated that he may retain his job at Al Rayyan and take charge of Qatar temporarily as the emirate faces three Word Cup qualifiers in the next two months, away to South Korea and China and home to Syria.
However it was unclear on Saturday if that was the case.
Qatar’s World Cup hopes are in deep trouble.
Despite serene progress through the AFC’s second round of qualifying, where Qatar topped their group and won seven of their eight games, they have made a disastrous start to Round 3.