Dudamel resigns as Venezuelan national team coach

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Copa America Brazil 2019 - Quarter Final - Venezuela v Argentina - Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - June 28, 2019 Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel at the end of the first half REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

(Reuters) - Rafael Dudamel left his post as coach of the Venezuelan national team on Thursday, saying his relationship with officials had deteriorated to the point that it was better to resign.

"I think this is the best thing for the national side," Dudamel, who had been in charge of the team for almost four years, wrote on his social media account.

"I am leaving the position so that a new coach can enjoy the working conditions that were no longer available to me."

The former goalkeeper had disagreed publicly with his bosses and had already threatened to resign.

The 46-year-old, who coached Venezuela’s under-17 and under-20 teams before taking over as head coach in 2016, leaves the Vinotinto on a high after securing wins over Argentina and the United States.

His successor will have the task of guiding the team in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which kick off in March.

Dudamel did not say where he is headed but media reports in both Venezuela and Brazil said he was joining Atletico Mineiro.

The Brazilian club is anxious for a fresh start after another disappointing season. Atletico finished 13th in the Brazilian first division last year and have not won the Minas Gerais state championship since 2017.

Dudamel’s only pervious club experience was with Venezuelan sides Estudiantes and Deportivo Lara.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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