Football

Somalia fire coach after disappointing 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign

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Rachid Lousteque has been fired after nine loses and two draws in the 11 games he was in charge

The Somalia Football Federation has fired Moroccan Rachid Lousteque as the coach of the Somali national football team, populary known as the Ocean Stars.

The 54-year old's reign came to an end on the back of Somalia suffering losses in all their four 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches as well as failing to progress to the First Round of the 2025 African Cup of Nations qualifiers after suffering elimination at the Preliminary Round of qualifiers following a 5-2 aggregate against eSwatini in March 2024.

Lousteque had taken over as Somalia coach from from AFC Leopards coach, the Dutchman Pieter de Jongh, on July 5, 2022.

He was tasked with spurring the growth of the Somali national football team, however, after failing to lead the team to victory in any of his 11 matches in charge, the former Olympique Khourigba coach has been shown the door.

The Moroccan is the longest serving Somalia coach in recent history but that longevity has not translated to any meaningful success with the team's best results under him being a 0-0 draw with Libya in a friendly match played in October 2023 and a 2-2 draw with eSwatini during the Preliminary Round of the 2025 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in March 2024.

Somalia are currently bottom of the World Cup qualifying group with zero points from four matches following losses to Algeria (3-1 away in November 2023), Uganda (1-0 at home in November 2023), Mozambique (2-1 away in June 2024), and Botswana (3-1 at home in June 2024). The loss to Botswana is the loss that broke the camel's back.

With the next international break scheduled to take place in September 2024, Somalia have enough time to find a suitable coach to guide the team in its next phase of growth.

Somalia, already out of contention to qualify for the next AFCON, will not play competitively until March 2025 when action in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resumes.

Already, the assistant coach of Norwegian club Randers, 32-year old Fatah Abdirahman has been touted as a possible replacement for Lousteque.

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