By: Syed Nadim Siraj

Oman’s decision to part ways with Paul Le Guen as coach was an ‘accumulative decision’ and didn’t have much to do with last week’s Turkmenistan defeat in isolation, according to Sultan al Zadjali, the OFA’s CEO and general secretary.

Two days after Oman lost 1-2 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in a 2018 World Cup qualifier last Tuesday, the OFA announced on Twitter that it had decided to part ways with the Frenchman with immediate effect.

The move sparked speculation over whether the national association was specifically upset with Oman’s loss in the away game or if the decision was brewing for some time. After all, Oman is still firmly in the second spot in Group D behind Iran and has a clear chance of progressing to the next stage of qualifying.

Zadjali told Muscat Daily on Saturday, “Releasing Le Guen was an accumulative decision by the OFA. It didn’t come about suddenly. Right from the start of this year, we had been having discussions with him about certain matters that we wanted pursued and about taking things forward in the way that we wanted best. But unfortunately, things weren’t working out over the subsequent months.”

The OFA’s CEO said, “The Turkmenistan match was the last chance we wanted to give to the team management. It was the last straw, you can say. Once we lost that game, we proceeded with the move to part ways with Le Guen, albeit cordially.”

The OFA top official, however, maintained that it is wrong to assume that Le Guen is leaving on a bitter note. “I strongly protest against the use of the word sacking. It has been an accumulative decision, it wasn’t sudden. We felt we needed to release him from his contract, and that’s what happened,” Zadjali said.

Zadjali pointed out that the OFA is looking to appoint a replacement in a fortnight’s time.

He said, “Time is of primary importance. We want to appoint a replacement in quick time. Our national teams committee has been tasked to find a proper replacement. We would ideally like to see a new coach in charge two weeks from now.”

Le Guen spent four years in Oman after a stint with the Cameroon national side. He has also coached Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Glasgow Rangers.