x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE FA delay announcing their new coach

The UAE are not expected to announce who their new coach is going to be now until Saturday

ABU DHABI // The Football Association (FA) has decided to delay an announcement over a new national team coach until tomorrow.

The FA met last night to discuss a replacement for Srecko Katanec amid speculation that the job would be offered to Mahdi Ali, the UEA Olympic coach.

But Ali left the meeting early, saying he was only discussing the final arrangements of his team's departure to Australia this morning for their round three 2012 Olympic Games qualifier on September 21.

"I was not here to discuss about the vacant position of the senior national team. If there is any other matter, you have to ask them," Ali told reporters at the FA headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

Katanec was fired after the UAE's 3-1 away defeat to Lebanon in their 2014 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, the FA president, later told the media that Ali was a strong candidate but they did not want to upset his preparations.

"He is a strong candidate for many reasons," Al Rumaithi said. "We don't want to upset his focus on his preparations because we have high hopes on them to qualify for next year's London Games.

"We have delayed naming a replacement for Katanec until our next meeting on Saturday. We are looking for a coach who is still serving in the country because it is absurd to bring someone from outside when the new season won't start until October 15.

"We don't have much time to experiment. We have short listed three names and we will decide on one them in the next two days. We want to look at all options because we still haven't given up hopes in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

"Our next match is against South Korea and we have not abandoned our plans in preparing for that game."

apassela@thenational.ae

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