x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Scolari linked with national job

Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the World Cup as manager of Brazil in 2002, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to be the new manager of the UAE team.

Luiz Felipe Scolari coached Brazil to World Cup success in Japan and South Korea in 2002.
Luiz Felipe Scolari coached Brazil to World Cup success in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

DUBAI // Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the World Cup as manager of Brazil in 2002, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to be the new manager of the UAE team. According to sources, the UAE Football Association have held informal talks with the man known as "Big Phil", who started last season in charge of the English Premier League team Chelsea before he was sacked in February. He is expected in Dubai next week to start formal negotiations.

Yousuf Abdullah, the general secretary of the UAE FA, said: "At this moment, we have not made any official contact with Scolari. But he is available and he could be one of the people we speak to. He is a big name in the world of football. "We are not in a hurry. We are waiting for June 10, when we will know the fate of teams competing for places in the 2010 World Cup. "A lot of teams in Europe and Latin America could be out of the World Cup reckoning by June 10. Then we will have a lot more coaches to choose from. So we want to wait until then and not decide in a hurry. We will have a larger pool to choose from and we will pick the one who suits our needs best."

The 60-year-old has plenty of experience in Gulf football, having coached the Kuwait national team and clubs like Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab and Al Ahli, and Al Qadisiya in Kuwait. Scolari guided Kuwait to the Gulf Cup title in 1990, but his biggest triumph came in 2002 when he coached Brazil to their World Cup triumph in Japan and South Korea. The veteran Brazilian also steered the Portuguese national team to the final of Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup semi-finals. Last year, he took over the reins at Chelsea, but was dismissed after just seven months in charge.

@Email:arizvi@thenational.ae Scolari has been without a job since, but has several offers from clubs and national teams in Europe and Asia. Uzbekistan are also in the hunt for Scolari's nod, as well as their Tashkent-based club Bunyodkor. Earlier in the week, Scolari's spokesman Acaz Fellegger had revealed the coach was looking into several other offers from clubs and national teams. He said: "By the weekend he should announce his decision."

The UAE have been in the hunt for a new coach since Bruno Metsu resigned last September and subsequently became the Qatar manager. He was replaced by his assistant and fellow Frenchman Dominique Bathenay, whose contract expires after the World Cup qualifiers against Iran and Saudi Arabia next month. The UAE have already failed to reach South Africa 2010 and are bottom of Asia Qualifying Group Two with just one

point from six games.