Soccer-Oman Name Ivankovic to Replace Koeman as Head Coach

FILE PHOTO: AFC Asian Cup - Round of 16 - Iran v Oman - Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - January 20, 2019 Iran's Mehdi Taremi in action with Oman's Khalid Al-Braiki REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

BANGKOK, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Former Iran coach Branko Ivankovic has been handed the reins of the Oman national team, replacing Erwin Koeman at the helm.

The Oman Football Association made the announcement on its social media channels late on Sunday, a month after Koeman’s departure.

Ivankovic previously worked as an assistant to Miroslav Blazevic when Croatia reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1998 before leading Iran to the finals in Germany in 2006.

The 65-year-old has worked extensively in Asia, winning the Chinese Super League title with Shandong Luneng in 2010 and guiding Iranian side Persepolis to the final of the Asian Champions League in 2018.

FILE PHOTO: Branko Ivankovic. REUTERS./

Koeman was fired last month after a disappointing performance at the Gulf Cup in Qatar where the Omanis failed to progress beyond the group phase.

Oman had gone into the tournament as defending champions having won the title two years earlier under the late Pim Verbeek.

Ivankovic’s first competitive game in charge will be against Afghanistan on March 31 in the second round of Asia’s qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)