Dubai: Claude Le Roy has been sacked as manager of Oman's national football team following their poor show at November's Gulf Cup in Yemen and their failure to qualify for the Asian Cup in Qatar.
The 62-year-old Frenchman, who led the sultanate to Gulf Cup glory in 2009, was the subject of a six-hour meeting among Oman Football Association (OFA) board members in Muscat on Saturday. The departure was officially announced to local press yesterday afternoon.
It is understood the former 1988 African Nation's winning coach of Cameroon, who later led them to the World Cup in 1998, exits with all his backroom staff with the exception of Olympic team coach Sebastien Migne who will stay on. Sources in Muscat claim this is to make way for a complete overhaul of the backroom staff.
Tears at the airport
Le Roy, who arrived back in Muscat from Doha yesterday morning after some TV punditry work at the Asian Cup said he was greeted with tears at the airport. "I don't know if sacked is a word I like, but we have collaborated to end our three years — Sayyid Khalid Al Buseidi told me I can be proud of leading Oman to their first Gulf Cup."
"I'm sad because I honestly thought we were building something. We played two Gulf Cups and didn't actually lose a game — I feel I didn't achieve what I wanted, that is, World Cup qualification. I thought we could continue this with me but it seems others don't think so. Sometimes people in football don't understand, there are a lot of different characters," said Le Roy.
"I can't be bitter because I've had three fantastic years in Oman and built great relations with everybody there — that's more important. I've been lucky to work under a great President with fantastic staff members. It's a surprise but that's football it's a permanent lesson in humility — I've had some offers from France already we'll see where I go but I'm in no hurry."
Also sacked John Burridge, the goalkeeper coach who took Ali Al Habsi to the English Premier League added, "I've done nothing wrong. In fact I've done more than anyone else in the Gulf, I've produced a phenomena, that's bigger than a Gulf Cup win. I'm very disappointed to have done so much for Oman only to be treated in such a manner. I'm down in the dumps."