RIO DE JANEIRO: Zico resigned as manager of the Iraqi national team Tuesday after little more than a year in charge, saying the country’s football association had failed to fulfill the terms of his contract.
The former Brazil captain’s resignation comes with Iraq still battling for a place at the 2014 World Cup finals.
“I would like to inform via this website that I have sent a communication to FIFA ... and to the Iraq Football Association declaring that I consider my contract to be void due to the IFA’s failure to abide by its terms,” he said via his website. “I will provide further details shortly.”
Iraq are third in Group B in the fourth phase of Asian qualifying with five points from five games, trailing second-placed Australia on goal difference. Japan lead the group on 13 points.
The top two teams qualify directly for the 2014 World Cup, while the third-place team go into a playoff system.
Zico is widely considered one of his country’s finest players, but has refused to coach in his homeland saying the pressure is too great.
He has instead plied his trade abroad, most notably in a four-year spell with Japan, with whom he took to the 2006 World Cup finals and won the 2004 Asian Cup.
Since then, he has coached Turkish club Fenerbahce, reaching the Champions League quarterfinals once, and had a spell with Greek side Olympiakos.
Zico made his debut as Iraq coach against Jordan in September last year. He has been in charge for 21 games, with 10 wins and six draws. Iraq have played home matches in Doha for security reasons.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 29, 2012, on page 15.