With just over a month to go before the 2015 Asian Cup begins, both Saudi Arabia and North Korea will face Group B opponents Uzbekistan and China with new faces on the touchline.
Saudi Arabia on Friday announced the sacking of former Real Madrid coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro following a disappointing runners-up finish as hosts of last month’s Gulf Cup of Nations.
At one time one of Asia’s strong sides, the West Asian nation have not won a trophy since the 2003 Gulf Cup of Nations, also failing to qualify for the last two World Cups. Caro was the country’s fourth manager in as many years, replacing Frank Rijkaard in January of 2013.
Meanwhile, the Asian Football Confederation announced on Saturday that North Korea coach Yun Jong Su has received a one-year suspension for his angry outburst towards the officials following his team’s 1-0 loss to South Korea in the Asian Games final.
Yun, who has managed the reclusive nation since 2011, will be allowed to take part in the team’s training and other football-related activities, but is banned from pitchside and the dressing rooms.
North Korea will open their Asian Cup campaign against Uzbekistan in Sydney on January 10, while Saudi Arabia face China later two hours later in Brisbane.