Pim Verbeek, ex-coach of South Korea and Australia, dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Pim Verbeek, the Dutchman who coached South Korea and Australia, has died at the age of 63.

Verbeek, who played for Sparta Rotterdam, died on Thursday after a four-year battle with cancer.

Sparta said in a statement its players will wear black armbands when they take on Willem II Tilburg in the Dutch league on Saturday.

After a short-lived spell in charge of Sparta’s crosstown rival Feyenoord in 1989, followed by coaching Groningen and Fortuna Sittard, Verbeek started his globe-trotting adventures in 1998 as head coach of Omiya Ardija in Japan.

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He became assistant to countryman Guus Hiddink with South Korea in 2000 and helped the Asian team reach the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil.

Verbeek returned to Seoul after the 2006 World Cup to become head coach, and led South Korea to third place at the Asian Cup in 2007 before stepping down.

In December of the same year, he was appointed to take Australia through its first ever World Cup qualification campaign as a member of the Asian Football Confederation.

Despite collecting four points at the 2010 World Cup, Australia exited at the group stage and Verbeek spent the next four years managing Morocco’s Under-23 team.

His final job in the game came in 2016 as the coach of Oman. Verbeek picked up his first trophy as a coach, winning the 2017-18 Gulf Cup title. He resigned after the Asian Cup in January.

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