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27 February 2024

Qatar sacks footbal coach Bruno Metsu

Qatar's head coach Bruno Metsu talks to his team players before the start of a training session for the Asian Cup soccer tournament at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in Doha on January 20, 2011. (REUTERS)


Bruno Metsu has been sacked as Qatar's football coach less than a week after the end of the Asian Cup where the hosts failed to get past the quarter-final stage, it was announced on Thursday.

Metsu's original contract was to have run until 2014.

The Frenchman, who took over the reins of the Gulf side in September 2008 from Uruguayan Jorge Fossati, has had a tough time in Doha with the national team failing to make a mark on the international stage.

A late surge of fortunes, however, saw Qatar beat Kuwait and China in the group stage to qualify for the last eight of the continental showpiece before losing to Japan in a thrilling match in which the eventual champions scored a last-gasp 3-2 victory.

Under Metsu, Qatar had also failed to get past the group stage of the Gulf Cup, a tournament taken very seriously by countries in the region.

"We thank Bruno Metsu for his contribution to Qatar football, but it's now time to move on," Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani told reporters at a press conference also attended by the outgoing coach.

A new coach could be named as early as next week.

Metsu has been a Gulf nomad, coaching several club teams teams in the region. Before taking charge of the Qatar team, he had a stint with the UAE national side but quit following their poor show in the World Cup qualifiers.

"I tried my best in Qatar but luck was not on my side," said Metsu. "Also the coach's job gets very difficult because of the small talent pool available here."

Metsu shot to fame in 2002 when he took Senegal to their first Fifa World Cup where the African side shocked defending champions France in the opening match and went on to qualify for the quarter-finals where they were beaten by Turkey.