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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

UAE friendly against Egypt cancelled as FA search for last-minute opponents

Match against the North African nation was meant to mark Zaccheroni's first in charge of the national team.

Alberto Zaccheroni, centre, is most likely to face Uzbekistan in his first game in charge for the UAE on November 14 after a friendly against World Cup qualifiers Egypt was called off. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP
Alberto Zaccheroni, centre, is most likely to face Uzbekistan in his first game in charge for the UAE on November 14 after a friendly against World Cup qualifiers Egypt was called off. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

The UAE’s marquee friendly with Egypt next week has been cancelled.

The national team were expected to take on the World Cup qualifiers at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on November 9, a match that would have marked new manager Alberto Zaccheroni’s first in charge.

However, difficulties arose with the company tasked with overseeing the organisation of the fixture and the decision was taken to call off the game. The UAE Football Association had still not received official confirmation from their Egyptian counterparts by Tuesday afternoon, although the search for a replacement opponent has begun.

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At the moment, the national team are scheduled to face only Uzbekistan during the international break. That match was originally slated for November 14.

Zaccheroni was earlier this month appointed as Edgardo Bauza’s successor on an initial 16-month contract. The deal runs until the conclusion of the 2019 Asian Cup, which takes place in the Emirates.

The FA has targeted at least a place in the final and chose Zaccheroni primarily because of his previous success with Japan. The Italian, 64, spent four years in charge of the East Asians from 2010, winning the 2011 Asian Cup and guiding the team to the 2014 World Cup.

The match against Egypt was seen as the perfect introduction to Zaccheroni's new role with the UAE, with a large turnout anticipated in Al Ain. Last month, Egypt qualified for a first World Cup since 1990 by defeating Congo with an injury-time penalty in their penultimate group match.

The Egyptian Football Association had then contacted the FA about a friendly next week, before Egypt travel to Ghana to conclude their qualification campaign on November 12.

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