Australia boss Pim Verbeek has revealed he turned down the chance to extend his contract beyond the FIFA World Cup™ because of the exhausting demands of the job. Verbeek announced on Monday that he will leave the post he took in December 2007. He has guided the Socceroos to this summer's finals in South Africa as well as next January's Asian Cup in Qatar.
However, the constant travelling associated with the position was the main reason behind his decision to leave in the summer, according to the 54-year-old Dutchman. "Being Socceroos coach is one of the hardest jobs in the world, without a doubt," he wrote in Australia's Daily Telegraph. "Why? Try clocking up almost one million kilometres of travel in two and a half years. That's what my staff say my itinerary has been, and I believe it.
"The job can also be of one the best. You are surrounded by fantastic people and work with some unbelievably dedicated players. But nothing can prepare you for the sheer quantity of travel and the broad focus of the job.
"When I took the job I quite rightly committed to spending a certain amount of time in Australia to get to know the A-League and its players and immerse myself in the Australian culture. But when you also have to consider those who are playing everywhere from the UK to Japan, it can become hard to know where you are at the start of each day.
Nothing can prepare you for the sheer quantity of travel and the broad focus of the job.
"Being away so much also takes its toll on your family, especially after nearly 30 years coaching around the world. When the FFA talked to me about the future, they made it clear they were thinking long-term - through to the next World Cup. Seeing through four years, coupled with being so far from my friends and family, meant I couldn't say yes."
The former South Korea coach elevated Australia to their highest-ever FIFA ranking of 14th in September 2009. His record currently stands at 15 wins, eight draws and four defeats in 27 matches but Verbeek revealed he is not keen on another job either with a national team or in Asia.
"The lifestyle here is fantastic and in terms of the support staff, resources and players, I will struggle to get a job as good as this. It's a fantastic honour to coach this team. But this is a good time to go," he added. "In fairness to my family, I don't think it will be in Japan or Korea. Asia is too far from home. But neither will it be in my home country, the Netherlands. Nor do I want a national team job."
Galatasaray boss Frank Rijkaard and Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar have already been mentioned as possible replacements. Australia face Germany, Serbia and Ghana in Group D at this summer's World Cup.