DUBAI // Carlo Nohra, the chief executive of the UAE Pro League, has refuted Srecko Katanec’s claims made earlier this month that the Emirates’ domestic set-up is hindering the success of the national team.
Katanec, the UAE coach, told The National before departing for the ongoing Asian Cup in Qatar that expectations were low and that there were too many foreign strikers in the Pro League, resulting in him being forced to “choose our national team strikers from players who start league matches from the bench”.
The UAE has failed to score in its two games at the tournament so far. They play their final Group D game against Iran tonight.
However, in a wide-ranging interview appearing in tomorrow’s edition, Nohra hit back, saying Katanec’s claims were a “cop out” and that the Slovakian is “purely pointing fingers to cover his own back”.
Nohra also discussed the need for a team from the UAE to perform in this season’s Asian Champions League, the disruptions caused by the Asian Cup and his own long-standing relationship with Mohammed bin Hammam, the AFC president who is considered to be a candidate to run against Sepp Blatter, the Fifa President, in the Fifa elections to be held on June 1.