Saudi Arabia fires former Barca coach Rijkaard

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Associated Press

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 12:05 PM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Saudi Arabian soccer federation says it has fired Frank Rijkaard as coach of the national team after a humiliating exit at the Gulf Cup.

Wednesday's dismissal comes almost a year after the once-powerful Saudi team failed to advance in 2014 World Cup qualifying. The former Barcelona coach was given a nearly $16 million deal in June 2011 to return the team to the pinnacle of Middle East soccer. Instead, the four-time World Cup participants have fallen to 126th in the world.

The final straw came when the team was knocked out of the Gulf Cup last week by lowly Kuwait.

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