Jorge Luis Pinto.
The dates for the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, have been approved by the AFC Competitions Committee, headed by Tran Quoc Tuan and after consultations with FIFA, it was announced on Wednesday.
The Round 2 fixtures will be played in March and June next year, with the third round slated to be played in September.
“It was agreed that all the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup Round 2 matches should be completed by June 15, 2021 with Match Day 7 and 8 in March 2021 and Match Day 9 and 10 in June 2021. While the final round of the Asian qualifiers beginning in September 2021,” the AFC said in a statement.
The joint-qualifiers have been postponed twice in the view of the pandemic that wreaked havoc across the globe and the sports was one of the worst hit sectors.
This has made the picture clear for the UAE, who have been awaiting their fate like other teams. They will resume their bid next March.
The fixtures, which were initially slated to be played in March and June, were pushed back until October- November.
The Whites were to supposed host Malaysia on Oct.8 before travelling to Indonesia on Oct.13. They were scheduled to play with Thailand on Nov.12 and would face off with Vietnam on Nov.17 at home.
The UAE, who are at the fourth spot in their group, need to win all four matches to make it to the next round. Their new coach Colombia’s Jorge Luis Pinto is yet to take charge in an official match since his appointment.
The hexagenerian’s primary task will be to see the UAE through to the next round of the joint qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
UAE are hopeful that the experienced coach, who accepted the challenge of taking the UAE to the next round, will live up to his reputation of man, who never gives up.
Vietnam with 11 points are leading the group followed by Malaysia in second with nine points, Thailand in third with eight and UAE in the fourth spot with six.
Pinto replaces Serbian Jovan Ivanovic, who had to part ways with the mutual consent even without taking charge of the team for a single game.
Sharjah will look to end their five-game win-less streak with a victory over Khorfakkan in their 20th round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Thursday.
Top nationals from across the country will be competing on March 12-13 for the 9th edition of the UAE Presidents Cup sponsored by HSBC.
Hazam added that the AFC, after coordinating with the FIFA, decided to complete the joint qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in October and November. The UAE will play two home matches on Oct.8 and 13 which will be followed by two away games on Nov.12 and 17, 2020.
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