Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 2 July 2020

Jorge Luis Pinto waiting for clarification on UAE manager contract

Colombian understood to have agreed in principle to succeed Ivan Jovanovic

Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto is best known for leading Costa Rica to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. Getty
Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto is best known for leading Costa Rica to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. Getty

Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto is said to be questioning whether he is first choice to become the UAE national team manager, as he waits to receive a final contract offer.

The former Colombia, Costa Rica and Honduras manager, 67, is understood to have agreed in principle late last week to a proposal from the Football Association to succeed Ivan Jovanovic, but the deal is yet to be finalised.

Sources close to Pinto told The National that details of the package – bonuses, housing, etc – have not yet been communicated, with Pinto now unsure if they will be forthcoming. The FA are set to meet on Monday, where they are expected to discuss the search for a new manager.

Pinto had told Colombian media during the weekend that he was “very close” to reaching an agreement to take him to the Emirates, and that he was already assessing players and UAE matches through video. He was previously considered for the UAE job, in 2017, before the FA eventually opted for Alberto Zaccheroni.

A manager with vast experience, albeit none outside South America, Pinto is best known for leading Costa Rica to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. It remains the country's best performance at a global finals.

Pinto then went close to taking Honduras to the 2018 tournament, but his side lost to Australia in the final play-off and thus missed out on a place in Russia. He stepped down soon after. Most recently, he managed in the Colombian league with Millonarios. Pinto left the club last year.

The FA is expected to finalise plans for Jovanovic’s successor this week. The Serb, dismissed in April without having taken charge of a match, was initially tasked with guiding the UAE through the final four matches of this round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

However, the fixtures were postponed from their original dates in March and June because of the coronavirus. They have been rescheduled for October and November.

The UAE lie fourth in Group G, five points off leaders Vietnam, although they have a game in hand. The national team face Malaysia at home on October 8, before taking on Indonesia away five days later.

They round off their campaign against Thailand and Vietnam, both at home, on November 12 and 17. Only the group winners are guaranteed to progress to the third round of qualification, alongside the four best runners-up from the eight groups.

The FA had considered a number of candidates for the role, including Al Dhafra manager Vuk Rasovic, former Al Ain and Al Ahli manager Cosmin Olaroiu and Juan Antonio Pizzi, who managed Saudi Arabia at the last World Cup. Rodolfo Arruabarrena, the former Al Wasl and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai manager, was another name said to be under review. However, the Argentine was never approached.

Updated: June 29, 2020 04:16 PM

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