x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

FA ready to name Katanec

Srecko Katanec is expected to be named the new coach of the UAE national football team next week.

Srecko Katanec is expected to be named the new coach of the UAE national football team next week, according to a board member of the UAE Football Association. The former Slovenia and Macedonia coach will replace Dominique Bathenay, whose contract expired after the team's final World Cup qualifying game. A shortlist of names, which also contains the former Saudia Arabia coach Yousef Abdulla, has been drawn up by the UAE FA and a recommendation - believed to be for Katanec - made.

Katanec, 45, was in Dubai earlier this month, watching the UAE lose to Germany 7-2 and South Korea 2-0, according to Obaid al Shamsi, a member of the board of directors of the UAE FA. "Maybe, we will sign an official contract next week," he said. Arrigo Sacchi, who led Italy to the final of the 1994 World Cup, and Luiz Felipe Scolari who won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, were touted as potential canididates. But al Shamsi is confident Katanec is the right man to take the UAE forward.

"I am sure he is the best man for the job, the UAE FA looked at a number of people before selecting him and we firmly believe that Katanec will take us to the next level," he said. Katanec's first game at the helm would be the 2011 Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia in January. The UAE earned just one point in eight games of the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. "We surely did not get good results and there are reasons for it," said al Shamsi. "We will look into them, learn for the future and try to become a stronger team. This is not the time to mourn. I believe our future is bright. We have lots of quality young players. Our youth team are the Asian champions and going to the World Cup."

arizvi@thenational.ae