Jovanovic Determined to Put UAE Back on Track

Published December 31st, 2019 - 08:20 GMT
The UAE FA has turned to Jovanovic, the former Al Nasr coach, in a bid to revive the team's fortunes
The UAE FA has turned to Jovanovic, the former Al Nasr coach, in a bid to revive the team's fortunes

Ivan Jovanovic, the newly-appointed head coach of the UAE national football team, is determined to help The Whites qualify for the next round of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

The UAE are sitting precariously outside the qualifying zone for the next round and their poor campaign at the recent Gulf Cup cost Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk his job.

Now the UAE FA has turned to Jovanovic, the former Al Nasr coach, in a bid to revive the team's fortunes.

"I am really honored to have been given the chance to coach the UAE national team. This is a big day for me. I have full faith in the people working at the UAE FA and the players of the national team," Jovanovic said.

The 57-year-old Serbian manager was introduced to the media at a press conference. Ghanem Mubarak Al Hajri, member of the Transitional Committee, president of the national teams and technical affairs Committee; Hamid Ahmed Al Tayer, Ali Hamad Al Badawi, members of the Transitional Committee; and Ibrahim Al Nimr, assistant secretary-general for Technical Affairs, attended the press conference in Dubai on Monday.

Jovanovic knows he faces a big challenge to put the team back on track as the UAE are aiming to make their second appearance at the World Cup, 29 years after their maiden appearance at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

"It's definitely new a phase in my coaching career. I know we have a big challenge ahead of us," Jovanovic said.

"I need to make sure the team get out of this crisis. I will try my best to take the national team to the next round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. This is the only target I have since becoming the coach of the UAE."

The Serb said winning games is the most important objective for him and his team.

"We need to win the four matches. We have to be mentally and physically stronger. I need players that are ready for these four big matches. It's simple. It doesn't matter whether the players are young or old," said Jovanovic, referring to his predecessor Marwijk's emphasis on giving more chances to young players.

The UAE are currently occupying the fourth place in the five-team Group G of the AFC World Cup qualifiers with six points from four matches. Only the top two teams will qualify for the next round.

The classy Vietnam are currently leading the group with 11 points from five games, while Malaysia are in second place with nine points from five games. Thailand are in third place with eight points from five games.

The UAE have a game in hand and if they manage to win their remaining four games, they will earn their ticket to the next round.

"These things can happen in football. You go though the good times and sometimes you go through the tough times. That's football. But if a team knows how to react to these situations, then you know it's a good team," Jovanovic said.


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