x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Katanec's future up for discussion when FA meet

The UAE Football Association’s technical committee will meet in the coming days to review the performance of the team at the Asia Cup.

Srecko Katanec hands out instructions during the UAE's 3-0 defeat to Iran in their final Group D match of the Asia Cup.
Srecko Katanec hands out instructions during the UAE's 3-0 defeat to Iran in their final Group D match of the Asia Cup.

DOHA // The future of UAE coach Srecko Katanec will be up for discussion when the Football Association’s technical committee meets over the coming days to review the team’s performance in the Asia Cup tournament.

The UAE finished last in its group with one point, and did not score a goal in three games.

Mohammed al Khalfan al Rumaithi, the president of the FA, did not indicate whether the Slovenian coach would lead the team in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers that will begin mid-year.

“We were satisfied with the work of Katanec so far,” al Rumaithi told reporters. “The technical committee will have a meeting to review the performance of the team, but we are convinced that the man has worked hard and did his best.”

In 23 matches under Katanec, the UAE have nine wins, seven defeats and seven draws.

Katanec faced criticism in the media over his perceived “defensive” ploy in playing a lone striker, Ahmed Khalil, during the tournament.

“We will wait for the World Cup qualifying draw now,” said Katanec. “At the moment nobody knows how it will be so we will see.

“In March, we must play some friendly matches. There are the Olympic qualifiers as well.”

The Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup will not start until Fifa decides the number of berths it will allocate the continent for the finals in Brazil. 

In the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, the UAE finished with just one point from eight matches and following the poor performance, Katanec took charge of the side in June 2009.

Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Hussain, the vice-president of the FA, was disappointed after the team’s final 3-0 defeat against a second-string Iran squad.

“If we cannot win against an Iran team, which didn’t have first choice players, then when can we win?” he said.

“I’m sorry to the fans. It was a bad result. I’m certainly not happy. The FA will meet Katanec when we go back and talk about it.”

arizvi@thenational.ae