.
.
.
.

Romanian Olaroiu to take charge of Saudi team

Olaroiu took charge of Al Ahli in July last year, signing a three-year contract and leading them to the Arabian Gulf League title.

Published: Updated:

Cosmin Olaroiu will lead Saudi Arabia at next month's Asian Cup in Australia after the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed agreed to release the Romanian from his contract with Emirati club Al Ahli.

The former international defender will take charge of Al Ahli, who the Sheikh is chairman of, for the last time on Saturday before linking up with the three-times Asian champions.

"My next job is to prepare Saudi Arabia for the Asian Cup, but I won't think on anything else until Ahli's game against Baniyas," Olaroiu told United Arab Emirates newspaper The National on Monday after a 2-1 win over Al Wahda in the league.

“It was a decision taken by the chairman of the club and I must respect that decision.”

“Ahli haven't had a great season so far, but we are happy to win the three points against Wahda and will hopefully win the next game against Baniyas so they will be in a better position whoever is going to take charge from me.”

Olaroiu has enjoyed great success managing clubs in the region, winning the Saudi title with Al Hilal in 2008, the Qatar Stars Cup with Al Sadd in 2010 before moving to the UAE and winning two league titles with Al Ain.

He took charge of Al Ahli in July last year, signing a three-year contract and leading them to the Arabian Gulf League title.

They are currently sixth in the league after 12 matches, five points off the pace.

He could return to the club after the Jan. 9-31 Asian Cup, where the Saudis have been drawn in Group B alongside China, Uzbekistan and North Korea, as the Arabian Gulf League takes a break for the showpiece tournament.

Olaroiu succeeds Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, who was sacked earlier this month shortly after the Saudis lost 2-1 at home to Qatar in the final of the Gulf Cup in Riyadh.