Former Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson said Qatar "was the place to be" as he was officially unveiled as the coach of club side Al-Arabi in Doha yesterday.
It is Hallgrimsson's first job since leaving the Iceland post and guiding his country to their first World Cup finals earlier this year, and he admitted even he was "surprised" to end up in the Gulf.
"I had some opportunities, some discussions with clubs but nothing that was more interesting than this one," he said. The 51-year-old has signed a one-and-half-year contract. Hallgrimsson added: "This is a big, big challenge, a big club, that has had historical success in the past and they would like to have that past again."
Al-Arabi are currently mid-table in the 12-team Qatar Stars League at the halfway stage. Starved of success in recent years, the last of their seven Qatari league titles was back in 1997. The Icelander is the club's eighteenth managerial appointment since 2010. "A lot of people have warned me that this is a hot seat so hopefully a guy from Iceland can cool it a little." All the things from the president, from the club, the conversations, is that they will support me and I feel that they really mean it. "Sacking coaches two times a year doesn't get you anywhere."
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