November 22, 2017 / 5:24 PM / a year ago

Saudi Arabia sack coach Bauza after five games in charge

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Portugal vs Saudi Arabia - Estadio do Fontelo, Viseu, Portugal - November 10, 2017 Saudi Arabia coach Edgardo Bauza REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

(Reuters) - World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia have sacked head coach Edgardo Bauza after five matches in charge, the country’s football federation (SAFF) said on Wednesday.

The Argentine, who replaced Bert van Marwijk in September, leaves after wins over Latvia and Jamaica and defeats by Ghana, Portugal and Bulgaria in his five friendlies in charge.

Dutchman Van Marwijk helped the Saudis qualify for next-year’s finals in Russia, which will be their fifth World Cup and their first since Germany 2006.

“We terminated our relationship with the national team manager, Edgardo Bauza, after extensive evaluation of the last stage of the national team under his command where the team played five friendly games,” the SAFF said in a statement.

“We are working on finishing the details with another manager to replace Bauza and lead the national team in the World Cup in Russia.”

The World Cup draw takes place in Moscow on Dec. 1 and Saudi Arabia are in pot 4, along with Serbia, Nigeria, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea and Australia, whose coach, Ange Postecoglou, quit earlier on Wednesday.

“The decision to terminate Bauza’s contract came after extensive technical evaluation of his work ... and the five games played, taking into account our aspirations before the World Cup,” SAFF boss Adel Ezzat said.

Before being appointed manager of Saudi Arabia, Bauza was in charge of Argentina but was sacked in April with the team teetering on the brink of missing out on World Cup qualification.

He was appointed coach of the United Arab Emirates the following month, but left that job to take charge of Saudi Arabia after Van Marwijk said he had ended negotiations to extend his contract.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Ashraf Atta in Cairo; Editing by Ken Ferris, Neville Dalton

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