x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE FA urged to spare no expense and recruit coach 'like Wenger'

MBC network football analyst Kefah Al Kaabi says "a big, foreign coach with a big brand name" should be installed as the UAE's new manager.

Throughout its history, the Football Association has entrusted foreign coaches to lead the national team to the World Cup finals, from Don Revie to Carlos Queiroz to Roy Hodgson and Dick Advocaat.

Despite the arrangement working only once, in 1990, the consensus seems to be that another expatriate is needed for the 2018 World Cup campaign.

"We need someone from outside the country," said Khaled Awadh, the assistant chief executive of Al Wahda.

"There is much to do for 2018, and I don't think a local coach can take up on this trip."

Kefah Al Kaabi, a football analyst for the MBC network, concurred but said that the FA this time should spare no expense.

"We need someone like Arsene Wenger," Al Kaabi said, "a big coach with a big brand name, and start him a minimum of four years ahead to develop the team from start to finish.

"We will have to pay a lot. We cannot be stingy on this matter. We are spending millions and millions on football and we end up with 0-0 games and going out in the first and second round."

He suggested Srecko Katanec, "a nobody", may have saved the FA some dirhams but did not bring the necessary expertise to a complicated and challenging job.

He noted the successful 1990 campaign was designed and led by two prominent Brazilians, Carlos Albert Parreira and Mario Zagallo.

"If we start from now, and have the right coach, and are patient, it could happen again. Seven years is a long time in football, and we have a good youth team, good from front to back, for the new coach to work with."

Abdullah Misfir, an Emirati, is the interim coach of the national side, and the side has look better organised in two matches against South Korea, albeit defeats.

Mahdi Ali, also an Emirati, leads the Olympic team, and it has been suggested that he could lead the senior team.

"What Mahdi has done with the Olympic team is good, but we need an outsider," Awadh said.

Said Al Kaabi: "Emirati coaches are good for youth because they are close to the players, but we need a big name for the national team because you are not going to play India and Nepal all the time. We are already spending millions on football; let's pick a big name."