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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Support for Alberto Zaccheroni to be named Edgardo Bauza's successor as UAE manager

The Italian, who guided Japan to the 2011 Asian Cup crown, is one of three names on the UAE FA's shortlist

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

Former Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni has significant support within the UAE Football Association to take the reins of the national team.

The Italian, who guided Japan to the 2011 Asian Cup crown, is one of three names on the FA’s shortlist to replace Edgardo Bauza, who left last month to take charge of Saudi Arabia. Appointed in May, the Argentine was in place for only three competitive matches.

At present, the other candidates for the UAE are Argentine Ricardo Gareca and Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto. However, they are both currently attempting to lead national teams to next year's World Cup.

Gareca, 59, seems set to remain with Peru after they drew 1-1 with Colombia on Wednesday morning in their final Conmebol qualification match to secure a play-off against New Zealand next month for a place in Russia. Gareca, 59, has for some time featured highly on the FA’s radar.

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Meanwhile, Pinto's Honduras remain also in the hunt for a place at the World Cup. They defeated Mexico in their final Concacaf qualifier and now meet Australia in a final play-off next month. Pinto is best known for leading Costa Rica to the 2014 World Cup, where he helped the team reach the quarter-finals - their best performance at the global finals.

The questions surrounding the pair’s availability will only strengthen Zaccheroni’s chances of being handed the UAE job. His CV appeals, given his success in 2011 with Japan and that he has also managed at club level in Asia. He was last employed in China’s Super League with Beijing Guoan, where he spent only five months last year.

With the FA determined to appoint a manager with international experience, the 64-year-old Italian certainly fulfills that criterion. He was in charge of Japan from 2010, during which time he not only masterminded the team’s Asian Cup success but also guided them to the 2014 World Cup. Once there, Japan were eliminated from the group stage.

A three-man committee, heading by FA vice-president Abdullah Naser Al Junaibi, was implemented last month to identify possible candidates. The panel assessed numerous possibilities, but have whittled those down to three. Ivory Coast manager Marc Wilmots and Morocco’s Herve Renard do remain of interest, though.

The FA would like to settle on Bauza’s successor within the next week so they go into next month’s international break with the new man in place. The national team are expected to play a friendly with World Cup qualifiers Egypt.

Last month, FA president Marwan bin Ghalita said the UAE were targeting reaching the final of the 2019 Asian Cup, which will be played in the Emirates. Last month, the national team failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup, finishing fourth in their group behind Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

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