Saudi Arabia appoint Rijkaard

Image: Rijkaard: Hopes to lead the Green Falcons to Brazil 2014

Frank Rijkaard has been confirmed as the new coach of Saudi Arabi.

Dutch coach returns to international management

Frank Rijkaard has been confirmed as the new coach of Saudi Arabi. The Dutchman has signed a three-year deal and will be tasked with leading the Green Falcons to qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals. The former Barcelona coach has been out of work since leaving Galatasaray in October and has been appointed after a deal for Ricardo Gomes fell through. "We have our goals," Rijkaard said. "We hope this will be the kick-off of a very successful period. "As every journey, you start with the first step.

World Cup plan

"That's what we made today. From now on, we will be planning." Rijkaard has two years' experience in international management, when he led Holland to the Euro 2000 semi-finals. The former Holland, Ajax and AC Milan midfielder then had an unsuccessful stint at Sparta Rotterdam before making his name as a coach at Barca. Rijkaard was appointed in 2003 and led the Spanish giants to the league title in 2005 and 2006 while also winning the 2006 Champions League. The 48-year-old left the Camp Nou in 2008 before having an unhappy 16-month spell in Turkey with Galatasaray. A tough assignment with Saudi Arabia lies in store too, with the Middle Eastern side having gone through 34 coaches in the last 25 years. After reaching their first-ever World Cup in 1994, they qualified for the next three before missing out on last summer's tournament in South Africa. Rijkaard will hope to make a positive early impression, starting with next week's friendly against Kuwait and the World Cup qualifying clashes against Hong Kong at the end of the month.

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