‘Hicke’ named new Bahrain coach

Josef Hickersberger has been appointed as new manager of the Bahrain national team.Bahrain Football Association officials announced today (Thus) that the 62-year-old Lower Austrian take over on 1 July.Hickersberger, a former Austria Vienna midfielder, will succeed Czech Milan Máčala as the team failed to beat New Zealand in the play-off to qualify for the upcoming World Cup.Hickersberger already acted as manager of the country’s national team in 1996.The first major upcoming challenge will be next year’s AFC Asian Cup where Bahrain face South Korea, India and Australia in the group stage, before the qualification stage for the 2014 World Cup goes underway.Bahrain is currently in 69th in the FIFA world ranking, while Austria is in 68th.Hickersberger won the 2005 Bundesliga title with Rapid Vienna before becoming coach of the Austrian national team the next year. He stepped down after the team garnered just one point in three matches in the Euro2008 which was co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.News that the former national team ace – who is nicknamed “Hicke” by fans – is to coach the national team of Bahrain comes just days after he announced negotiations with club bosses over an extension of his contract as manager of United Arabian Emirates league champions Al-Wahda failed.