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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Former AC Milan and Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni set to take charge of UAE

Football Association are expected to conclude their search for a new manager following the abrupt departure of Edgardo Bauza to Saudi Arabia.

Alberto Zaccheroni will succeed Edgardo Bauza as UAE manager. Getty Images
Alberto Zaccheroni will succeed Edgardo Bauza as UAE manager. Getty Images

Alberto Zaccheroni is close to being confirmed as the new UAE national team manager.

The Italian, who led Japan to the 2011 Asian Cup crown, arrived in Dubai late on Saturday and will meet with the Football Association on Sunday to finalise the conditions of his contract.

Should everything be agreed - as is expected - he will succeed Edgardo Bauza, who left last month to head Saudi Arabia's World Cup campaign.

Zaccheroni, 64, was deemed the right man for the role specifically because of his success and experience in Asian football.

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He was appointed as Japan manager in 2010 and guided the East Asians to the continental title the following year - the last time they have won the tournament. Japan qualified for the 2014 World Cup also during his tenure, although they were eliminated at the group stage. Zaccheroni left immediately after the tournament in Brazil.

The former AC Milan manager was installed last year at Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League, but lasted only five months. He has not since been employed.

Zaccheroni's availability also played its part, given the FA's two other primary targets, Ricardo Gareca and Jorge Luis Pinto, are currently attempting to lead national teams to next year’s World Cup. They manage Peru and Honduras, respectively.

The FA were not prepared to wait until next month for those campaigns to be resolved, since they wished to go into next month’s international break with the new manager in place. A friendly with World Cup qualifiers Egypt has been mooted.

Last month, FA president Marwan bin Ghalita said the UAE were aiming to reach the final of the 2019 Asian Cup, which will be played in the Emirates.

Last month, the national team failed to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russia, finishing fourth in their group behind Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia. The UAE has only once before appeared at a global finals, in 1990.