Juan Antonio Pizzi has officially been appointed as head coach of the Saudi Arabian National Team ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, replacing Argentinian manager Edgardo Bauza who was sacked after only two months in charge of The Green.
The announcement was made on Twitter this morning when Head of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority Turki Al Shaikh tweeted a picture of himself behind Juan Antonio Pizzi and Saudi FF President Adel Ezzat shaking hands, with Saudi FF executive Sami Al Jaber also present in the photo.
This means Pizzi becomes the third manager who is expected by the Saudi Football Federation to lead them into the World Cup, after Bauza succeeded the man who actually qualified the nation to the football’s largest competition since 12 years but left due to differences with the Saudi FF, Bert Van Marwijk.
This will be Pizzi’s first experience in Asian football and the Middle East to be specific, as he has never played or coached in the continent. However, on an international level he has been successful as of recently, winning the 2016 edition of Copa America with the Chilean national team.
He went onto take the team to the final of the 2017 Confederations Cup where they lost 1-0 to Germany, but he failed to complete a trio of relatively successful campaigns for Chile when he failed to take them to the 2018 World Cup. Pizzi immediately resigned after Chile’s loss to Brazil which confirmed their failure to qualify.