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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Back to the drawing board for UAE FA as Bert van Marwijk rules himself out of national team job

Dutchman, 65, had emerged over the weekend as the UAE's No 1 target to fill the vacancy created by Edgardo Bauza's shock move to Saudi Arabia

Bert van Marwijk, centre, has ruled himself out of the vacant UAE national team job.. Getty Images
Bert van Marwijk, centre, has ruled himself out of the vacant UAE national team job.. Getty Images

The UAE Football Association will have to consider other candidates for the national team job after Bert van Marwijk ruled himself out of the running.

The Dutchman, 65, had emerged as the FA’s No 1 target to fill the vacancy created last week by Edgardo Bauza’s shock move to Saudi Arabia.

Van Marwijk had actually been in charge of the Saudis until this month, but his contract was not renewed despite him guiding the team through a successful qualification for next summer’s World Cup. Saudi Arabia have not appeared at a global finals since 2006.

The FA were therefore convinced Van Marwijk was the strongest candidate to spearhead their bid for success at the 2019 Asian Cup, which takes place in the Emirates in 16 months' time, and had contacted his representatives this week.

However, Van Marwijk informed agent Mino Raiola that he was not interested in the position and that has been relayed to the FA. The National understands that Van Marwijk decided to turn down the offer since he felt it came too soon following his departure from Saudi Arabia. He had never spoken directly to the FA.

With Van Marwijk no longer an option, the search will focus on a number of other names on the FA’s provisional list. A three-man committee was set up earlier this week, tasked with determining the criteria for the new manager. It is headed by Abdullah Naser Al Junaibi, the federation’s vice president and chairman of the Pro League Committee.

Other possible targets include Jurgen Klinsmann, the former US national team manager, and Javier Aguirre, the Mexican who recently spent two years at Al Wahda before leaving the Abu Dhabi club in May. Aguirre has international experience also, having previously managed Mexico and Japan.

Cosmin Olaroiu, the Romanian in charge of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and someone who would prove a popular choice among UAE players and supporters, is no longer a candidate.

Meanwhile, Peru national team manager Ricardo Gareca remains of interest, although the Argentine is attempting to mastermind the South Americans' qualification for the World Cup. They are fourth in Conmebol and thus occupy the final automatic qualification spot.

Peru bring down their campaign next month, when the first of their double-header, an away match against Argentina, should have a major impact on their chances of going to Russia. At present, they are above fifth-placed Argentina only on goal difference.

Should the FA decide on pursuing Gareca, they would be prepared to wait until the conclusion of qualification.

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