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Sunday, 15 October, 2000, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Saudis sack Macala
Milan Macala
Milan Macala paid the price for Saudi Arabia's failure
Saudi Arabia coach Milan Macala has been sacked after the defending champions' humiliating 4-1 Asian Cup defeat by Japan.

The Saudis were embarrassed by the skilful Japanese, who swept aside their disjointed and inept opposition with ease in Group C.

A Saudi FA spokesman confirmed that Macala had been dismissed, and said: " His assistant Nasser Jaohar will take over."

Macala declined to comment, but the experienced Czech coach had warned before the tournament Saudi Arabia might struggle because of a weak build-up.

He could, however, hardly have been surprised at receiving his marching orders after Saturday's rout.

Hiring and firing

His paymasters at the Saudi FA have a habit of hiring and firing coaches in the finals of big tournaments when results start to go askew.

At the 1998 World Cup finals the Saudis gave Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira the bullet after two defeats, a 1-0 loss against Denmark and a 4-0 stuffing against France.

Parreira, who guided Brazil to World Cup glory in 1994, had controversially been brought in on a lucrative contract to oversee Saudi Arabia's campaign at France 98.

Parreira had in turn replaced German Otto Pfister, who guided Saudi Arabia to the finals. Pfister himself had been appointed after his Saudi predecessor was sacked midway through the qualifying campaign.

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See also:

14 Oct 00 |  Football
Japan hammer holders Saudi
15 Oct 00 |  Football
Moving pictures of the Asian Cup
13 Oct 00 |  Football
Asian Cup tables
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