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Iraq FA chairman: Zico turned down Saudi Arabia friendly

Iraq FA chairman: Zico turned down Saudi Arabia friendly

The Brazilian wants his team to acclimatise to the conditions in Doha for their clash with Oman in neutral territory, meaning he's declined a chance to face the Green Falcons

Iraqi Football Association president Najih Humoud has revealed national team coach Zico declined the opportunity of a friendly against Saudi Arabia.

The Lions of Mesopotamia have qualified for the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying in Asia where their campaign will begin on June 3 away to Jordan.

However, Iraq has a bye in matchday two and their next fixture isn't until June 12 against Oman with the game to be played at the neutral Doha after earlier sanctions for the association following an unsafe second round qualifier in Arbil.

Hamoud revealed there had been plans for a friendly on June 7 against Saudi Arabia, who haven't progressed to the final round of qualifying, however the Brazilian boss turned the potential match down.

"Zico rejected a friendly meeting with Saudi Arabia, indicating that he preferred to go to Qatar immediately after the completion of the first game for the team," Hamoud told reporters.

"(He did so) in search of stability and adaptation to the climate in Doha for as long as possible."

Hamoud revealed the IFA had placed full responsibility for the team's preparation in Zico, who previously guided Japan to the 2006 World Cup.

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