x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Diego Maradona and Mahdi Ali contenders for job of UAE coach

New Football Association president, Yousuf Al Serkal, to make appointment of full-time manager a top priority.

Diego Maradona has been Al Wasl manager for a year.
Diego Maradona has been Al Wasl manager for a year.

ABU DHABI // Diego Maradona and Mahdi Ali are on the shortlist for the post of UAE national football team manager, according to the new president of the FA.

Yousuf Al Serkal, who was elected last night by a landslide margin of 26-2, said one of his immediate tasks is to help shape the future of the senior national team starting with the appointment of a full-time head coach.

"The senior and Olympic teams are my priorities," Al Serkal said following last night's landslide victory before adding that Maradona, the Al Wasl manager, and Ali, the Olympics team coach, are candidates for the top job.

Abdulla Misfir is the caretaker manager following the dismissal of Srecko Katanec last September.

Al Serkal praised Maradona, saying the Argentine legend is now an integral part of the UAE sports fraternity since taking over the reins at Pro League side Al Wasl last year.

"He has a very big influence in football," he said about the former Argentina manager. "He has spent one full season and why not. He will be considered as well."

Ali became the first football coach to lead the UAE to the Olympics when his team earned direct entry by topping their group that included Uzbekistan, Australia and Iraq. And with a majority of the Olympic team players expected to form the core of the senior national team, Ali may be one of the front runners for the job.

"Our Emirati coach [Ali] has done a commendable job with the age group team and he will be considered because he has all the credentials of taking charge of the senior national team," Al Serkal said.

apassela@thenational.ae

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