Zico resigns as Iraq national team coach
RIO DE JANEIRO - Reuters
Brazilian football icon Zico steps down as the coach of the Iraqi national football team, saying that the federation had failed to abide by its terms.Zico quit as coach of the Iraqi national team on Nov. 27 after little more than a year in the post, saying the country’s football association had failed to fulfill the terms of his contract.
The former Brazil captain’s resignation comes with Iraq still battling for a place at the 2014 World Cup finals.
“I would like to inform via this website that I have sent a communication to FIFA ... and to the Iraq Football Association declaring that I consider my contract to be void due to the IFA’s failure to abide by its terms,” he said on his website (www.ziconarede.com.br)
“I will provide further details shortly.”
Iraq are third in Group B in the fourth phase of Asian qualifying with five points from five games, trailing second-placed Australia only on goal difference. Japan lead the group on 13 points.
The top two teams qualify directly for Brazil in 2014 while the third-place team goes into a playoff system.
Zico is widely considered one of his country’s finest players but has refused to coach in his homeland, saying the pressure is too great.
He had a four-year spell with Japan, who he led to the 2006 World Cup and won the Asian Cup in 2004.
Since then, he has coached Turkish club Fenerbahçe, reaching the Champions League quarterfinals once and Greek side Olympiakos.
Zico made his debut as Iraq coach against Jordan last year. He had 10 wins and six draws in 21 games with Iraq.