Verbeek the new Australian national coach

Dutchman Pim Verbeek was unveiled on Thursday as the new coach of Australia, tasked with guiding them to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

Verbeek and Frenchman Phillippe Troussier had been the front-runners for the job since another Dutchman, Dick Advocaat, reneged on his contract three weeks ago to stay with new Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.

Verbeek (51) told a video conference that he intended to use his tenure to develop the game in Australia.

“I am looking forward to the challenge ahead of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and I am committed to also helping to develop the game in Australia,” he said.

“I intend to become as familiar as possible with football in Australia and I will be based in Australia and intend to relocate immediately.

“I will be in Australia next week to observe players in the final rounds of the A-League.

“I am excited to be involved in what is an exciting time for football in Australia and I look forward to assisting the FFA in developing football in Australia and making myself available to support the national football development plan, in particular working with Australian coaches.”

Football Federation Australia chairperson Frank Lowy, who was largely responsible for snaring Guus Hiddink as Australia’s coach for last year’s World Cup in Germany, said Verbeek was the right man for the job.

“After very careful consideration and a rigorous recruitment process I am delighted that we have secured the services of a very experienced and respected national coach for the Socceroos,” Lowy said at the announcement.

“Pim Verbeek has a vast range of experience he has gained over 25 years in coaching, including several stints in Asia, and we believe he is the right man for the job of leading the Socceroos to the 2010 World Cup.”

Verbeek led South Korea to the Asian Cup semifinals earlier this year and previously was assistant to Hiddink with South Korea when they reached the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup.

He boasts excellent knowledge of the Asian region having coached at club level in Japan as well as stints as assistant coach at the United Arab Emirates and South Korea, firstly under Hiddink and then Advocaat at last year’s World Cup.

Verbeek has also held coaching appointments in some of Europe’s leading leagues and clubs including Dutch giants Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven and Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach.

He has also been employed by the KNVB (Netherlands Football Federation) in a coach development role and with the national team in a scouting role.

The Socceroos have been without a permanent coach since Hiddink quit the job after taking Australia to the second round of the World Cup finals in Germany.

Hiddink’s assistant Graham Arnold had been in a caretaker’s role with the Socceroos since then.

Verbeek’s appointment maintains the Dutch coaching influence at the top of Australian football through Hiddink, Advocaat and technical director Rob Baan.

Verbeek flew from The Netherlands to Singapore to discuss the role with an FFA delegation on Wednesday ahead of the official announcement.

Australia have been grouped with China, Asian Cup champions Iraq and Qatar in their World Cup qualifying group which gets under way in February. - AFP

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