The coronavirus pandemic brought to a halt World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers before Jovanovic Ivan could make his debut.
The UAE have sacked their Serbian coach Ivan Jovanovic without a single game in charge as his task of steering them to a pair of major tournaments was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE Football Association (UAEFA) said on Monday.
Jovanovic, who won four Cypriot league titles with APOEL Nicosia and reached the 2012 Champions League quarter-finals with them, took over at UAE in December on a six-month contract in a bid to reach the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
The 57-year-old former Al Nasr coach had replaced Dutchman Bert van Marwijk in December last year.
But the Serbian’s short term-deal has come to an end without even taking charge of a game.
Jovanovic managed Nasr across two spells. Initially, he spent more than three years at Dubai’s Al Maktoum Stadium from June 2013, where he ended the club’s 25-year wait for silverware by capturing three trophies in two seasons.
His second spell was less successful, though, with the Nasr board dismissing him in late 2018 after less than a year in charge. At the time, the club were 10th in the Arabian Gulf League.
“The UAE Football Association has terminated the contract of Ivan Jovanovic and his team of assistants, thanking him for his efforts and wishing him success,” the governing body said in a statement.
“The decision was made based on the recommendation of the FA national teams and technical affairs committee, headed by Yusef Hussain Al Sahlawi, the second vice-president of the federation and head of the committee.
“The FA board delegated the committee to sign a new technical staff to lead the team during the coming period.”
The pandemic brought to a halt World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers before Jovanovic could make his debut, leaving the UAE fourth in their World Cup qualifying group on four points from as many games behind Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.
Meanwhile, the UAE Pro League is broadcasting matches from the Arabian Gulf League archives in a series titled ‘On This Day’, where matches from past seasons are broadcast in full on the @AGLeague YouTube channel throughout April. Matches are selected and broadcast on the date they were actually played.
Viewers enjoyed the debut of the series with on Thursday, with the replay of the Al Ain vs Shabab Al Ahli fixture from matchweek 21 of the 2014-15 season.
The following day saw a rerun of the Dubai Derby between Al Nasr and Al Wasl from matchweek 19 of the 2018-19 season, while the next broadcast featured a second game from the same matchweek between Fujairah and Ittihad Kalba.
The series continued with a broadcast of Al Dhafra vs Al Wahda fixture from the 2018-19 season, while Tuesday, April 7 sees a replay of Sharjah vs Al Wahda game from 2017-18, while Al Jazira vs Shabab Al Ahli match from 2015-16 has been selected for broadcast on April 10.
The YouTube stream delivered by the UAE Pro League offers a live chat feature, allowing fans to engage in conversations about the match.
The campaign aims to allow fans the opportunity to enjoy match action while they stay at home in accordance with the instructions of the UAE authorities’ efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
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