Mohammad Abdullah, Sports Reporter
Former Al Ain and Croatian coach Zoran Mamic has agreed to take over the leadership of the UAE Football team for a period of two years, according to a contract that will be signed between the two sides.
A final agreement has been reached between the UAE Football Association and the Croatian coach, who is currently leading Dynamo Zagreb, who qualified a few days ago to the quarter-finals of the European League, and tops the Croatian League standings.
Zoran is expected to reach an agreement to terminate the contract with his club, in the coming days, provided that this will be done within the winter vacation, which will begin in 10 days. Some sources indicate that the coach will sign his two-year contract with the national team for 4.5 million euros.
UAE FA had made their intents clear of bringing in a coach who has experience of working at the Arabian Gulf League (AGL).
Mamic had guided the Boss to the AGL glory in 2018. Al Ain lifted a record 13th title to assert their dominance, bringing to end a barren run of three years without a major trophy.
Officials hope to seal the deal quickly with formally signing the contracts with the creation in a bid to regroup the Whites, who seem to have scattered during the era of Colombian coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
Earlier, the UAE sacked Pinto just five months after his appointment as the national coach 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 had already 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.
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 Under Pinto, the Emirates played three friendlies, losing to Uzbekistan, beating 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 had 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."
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