Changing his mind, Austria national coach quits

June 24th, 2008 - 12:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, June 24 (DPA) Josef Hickersberger has announced that he is to step down as Austria’s national team coach, five days after saying he wanted to continue in the post. “I am empty and tired, I need a timeout. I have to recharge batteries,” the 60-year-old former Austrian national player told the newspaper Der Standard Monday.

After Austria was eliminated from the Euro after a 0-1 loss to Germany in the group phase, Hickersberger had indicated he was ready to keep coaching the Austrian team, despite earlier expectations that he would quit after the tournament.

He told Der Standard that his players had persuaded him to stay on.

His two and a half years as national trainer had been worth it as he had managed to create a younger team.

Being sent to the stands by the referee in Austria’s final match had been significant, Hickersberger said, as it symbolized his transition into normal life.

But the coach still seems to be smarting from that experience he shared with German coach Joachim Loew. “They treat us like dancing bears. I don’t want to be a dancing bear any longer,” he said.

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