Jorge Luis Pinto speaks during a press conference.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
The UAE sacked Jorge Luis Pinto just five months after his appointment as the national coach, it was announced by UAE FA on Monday.
The contract was terminated with the mutual consent of both the parties after evaluating the performance of the team under the Colombian.
Pinto was entrusted with responsibility of taking the UAE through to the next stage of the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers but both the parties decided to end the association even before the qualifiers could begin.
He was handed a two-year contract in beginning with a clause of further extension, depending on the performance of the team under him.
The UAE FA also apprised that the next coach will be someone, who has worked in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL). It was also informed that the national team’s technical affairs committee is pondering on the name of three coaches to succeed Pinto and the name will be announced soon.
Rumours are rife the next coach can be an Emirati and the two names, which are doing round are that of the Sharjah boss Abdulaziz Al Anbari and former coach Mehdi Ali.
Pinto had replaced Serbian Jovan Ivanovic, who also had ended his collaboration with the national team even without taking charge for a single game.
Like his predecessor, Pinto also did not get the opportunity to lead the team in any official match except for a few friendlies, wherein the UAE had a mixed fortune.
The UAE played three international friendlies under Pinto against Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Bahrain. They lost to Uzbekistan 2-1, struggled to eke out a narrow 3-2 win against Tajikistan before losing to Bahrain on the turf.
Yousef Al Sahlawi, vice-president of the UAE FA and head of the national-team committee, said that the decision to end the relationship with Pinto was made by mutual consent between the two parties. The decision was prompted by the underwhelming performance of the national team of late.
Out-going Pinto expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, President of the UAE FA and for everyone, who supported him during his tenure as coach of the White.
"I faced difficult circumstances during the task of assuming responsibility for coaching the Whites. The most important of which was the long suspension of sports activity due to the coronavirus.
“The position of the national team in their group and the short time remaining to prepare for the joint qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup finals and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup finals,” said Pinto Due to coronavirus, Pinto could not assume the charge of the team in any official match. He was supposed to manage the team in the joint qualifiers, which were slated to be held in August 2020 but were postponed until October before being procrastinated for another six and will be held in March 2021.
He added, "I spoke with officials in the Football Association and they understood my position, and it was agreed between us to end the contract amicably. I wish success to the UAE national team, which has a great place in my heart, and I had the honour to train its first national team."
Meanwhile, Anbari and Mehdi Ali are being considered as the top contenders for the vacant post. Both the coaches have proved their credentials with a stellar record as a coach.
Anbari guided Sharjah to the AGL title in 2018-19 season while Ali had a successful stint with national team in the past during which he guided them to semi-final of the Asian Cup.
Defending champions Sharjah are the current leaders in the 14-team league as the 2019-20 season was suspended due to pandemic with seven rounds to spare.
The cancellation of the league prompted the decision to suspend the relegation, promotion and crowning a new champion for the 2019-20 season to give all the clubs an equal opportunity.
Sharjah’s hopes of returning to the winning ways got a boost as the coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari passed the fitness test and will be ready to lead the team against Al Nasr.
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