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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 15, 2005

Saudis question coach Calderon's prep

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The Saudi Football Federation (SFF) has given national coach Gabriel Calderon until end of next week to explain his build-up plans for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

The body is also concerned about Saudi Arabia's relatively poor showing at the recent West Asian Games in Doha, although SFF head Prince Nawaf Bin Faisal insisted the Argentine's job was not under threat.

'We have asked Calderon to explain and allay our concerns,' Prince Nawaf was quoted as saying on the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) website on Thursday.

'This was regarding the changes in technical and administrative staff which have been carried out four times so far and the constant changes he makes in his plans.

'We also wanted to know the wisdom behind holding a training camp for two weeks before the finals without playing a single friendly match during the camp. We will soon know his answer.'

Calderon has been in charge of the team for just under one year and led the side to the finals in Germany.

Saudi finished fourth in the recent West Asian Games football tournament, losing to Iraq in the semi-finals and Iran in the third place play-off.

Prince Nawaf added: 'I would like to assure you that changing coaches is not a habit with the Saudi FF.

'There are a few factors in deciding the future of Calderon and we should respect his ideas, which led us to the 2006 finals without losing a single game.

'The defeat in the West Asian Games should not be looked at in isolation and we will not take those results into account while assessing him.

'We will assess him and his fitness to lead our team based on his preparation plans.'

Saudi Arabia are hoping to arrange friendly matches against the likes of France, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Morocco and Russia in the lead-up to the World Cup.

They have been drawn in Group H with Spain, Ukraine and Tunisia in the finals.