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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

UAE call off Morocco friendly as hunt to replace Bauza as manager goes on

Argentine's departure leaving UAE Football Association searching for second manager in four months

UAE not meet during the international break. UAE FA
UAE not meet during the international break. UAE FA

The UAE squad will not convene during the international break as the search for a new national team manager continues.

Initially, the UAE had been scheduled to play Morocco in a friendly in Dubai on October 10 - a fixture proposed last month by Edgardo Bauza. However, the Argentine’s shock departure to take the reins of the Saudi Arabia national team was announced on September 14, leaving the UAE Football Association searching for a second manager in four months.

Appointed in May as Mahdi Ali's successor, Bauza was in charge of the UAE for three competitive matches, but failed to guide the side through a successful conclusion for qualification to next summer’s World Cup. The UAE finished fourth in Group B.

Given that the hunt for a new manager carries on, the UAE’s international players will not meet up this week. Instead, they have remained with their respective clubs and could feature in the upcoming round of Arabian Gulf Cup matches. The Arabian Gulf League resumes on October 13.

The next month represents a significant period for the FA, who are prepared to wait to install a manager until after World Cup qualification concludes in Europe, Africa and South America.

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At present, the federation is considering a number of options, with Morocco’s Herve Renard, Ivory Coast’s Marc Wilmots and Peru’s Ricardo Gareca all potential candidates.

Javier Aguirre, the former Al Wahda manager who has international experience with Mexico and Japan, is also of interest, as is Paulo Bento, the Portuguese manager who led his national team to the semi-finals of the 2012 European Championship. Bento, 48, has been out of work since March, when he was dismissed by Greek champions Olympiakos. He has been already sounded out about the UAE job.

Alberto Zaccheroni features highly on the FA’s list, too. The Italian, who led AC Milan to the Serie A title in the 1998/99 season, is best known in Asia for guiding Japan to the 2011 Asian Cup crown. Zaccheroni last managed in China, with Beijing Guoan last year.