November 29 – Pim Verbeek has passed away at the age of 63 following a four-year battle with cancer. The Dutchman led Australia at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and earlier this year he guided Oman to the knock-out phase of the Asian Cup.
The Dutch coach enjoyed a long track record in Asia. He was Guus Hiddink’s assistant during South Korea’s historic World Cup run on home soil in 2002. In 2005, he became South Korea’s U-23 coach and a year later he assisted Dick Advocaat at the 2006 World Cup.
He was then named head coach and won a bronze medal with South Korea at the 2007 Asian Cup. In 2010 his Australia failed to get out of a group with Ghana, Germany and Serbia in the World Cup, despite collecting four point and defeating the Serbians.
Verbeek managed the Morocco U-23s from 2010 to 2014 and returned to Asia in 2016 for a three-year stint with Oman taking them to the AFC Cup in the UAE in January.
On joining Oman he immediately propelled them to silverware at the Gulf Cup. The Omanis conceded just a single goal in the tournament as they triumphed on penalties against the United Arab Emirates in the final. In the group stages a brace from striker Said Salim Al-Ruzaiqi helped Oman to a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
“We had to win against Saudi Arabia, but we were in form,” Verbeek told Inside World Football before the Asian Cup. “There was no other way. Saudi Arabia has a league that far outstrips ours. They have players who play abroad and foreign coaches in their domestic league. In Oman, they are looked up to. True, Saudi Arabia had a lot of youngsters in their team, but it was a big result that gave us confidence for the semi-finals and the final. We deservedly won the Gulf Cup. In hindsight, it was an excellent tournament for us.”
After the elimination at the Asian Cup by Iran Verbeek announced his retirement, saying it would be his last job in football.
Following his passing tributes have flowed for Verbeek across the Netherlands and the rest of the world, all of them gushing with praise for a kind human being.
“Very sad and heartbreaking news today of Pim Verbeek’s passing,” wrote Mark Schwarzer on Twitter. “He was an amazing human being, a true gentleman with an infectious smile. Someone I have had the privilege to call a friend. You will never be forgotten. My condolences to the Verbeek family.”
“My world is a sadder place tonight after learning of the death of Pim Verbeek,” wrote Tim Cahill. “The kindest, most genuine human being I ever met in football – I was proud to call him my friend. Rust goed Pim.”
Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou expressed his condolences to Verbeek’s family and friends. “The thoughts and sympathies of everyone in Australia’s football community are with Pim Verbeek’s nearest and dearest at this difficult time,” said Nikou. “Pim made a great mark on Australian football and is fondly remembered by the people that worked closely with him, many members of the media, as well as the public. Pim’s record as coach of the Socceroos can only be looked back on as strong, however the outpouring of sincere sentiments since news of his passing filtered through last night highlights the esteem in which he was kept by many.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1576359761labto1576359761ofdlr1576359761owedi1576359761sni@o1576359761fni1576359761