Pinto Eyes World Cup Glory with UAE National Team

Published June 30th, 2020 - 02:27 GMT
Jorge Luis Pinto (Photo: AFP)
Jorge Luis Pinto (Photo: AFP)

Jorge Luis Pinto is already eyeing a spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the UAE after the country's football association made the announcement on Monday that they would be offering a contract to the Colombian manager to guide The Whites in the next rounds of the qualifying campaign.

The vastly experienced Pinto, a serial winner at club level in Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Venezuela, will take over the reins following the departure of Serbian coach Ivan Jovanovic.

"We will give everything working very hard to bring @uaefa_ae to the second world championship in its history, thanks to the president and his managers for trusting, and to all those who in Colombia and the world have been aware," the 67-year-old coach tweeted on Monday night, hours after the UAEFA announcement to offer him a contract.

The Whites are currently occupying the fourth spot in the five-team Group G with six points after four matches, facing a must-win situation in their remaining games to enter the next round of the qualifiers.

The next stage in the Covid-19-hit qualifying campaign will be held in October and November.

The UAE will resume their campaign against Malaysia at home on October 8 before taking on Indonesia away on October 13.

Then they will face Thailand on November 12 (home) before ending their Group G campaign against Vietnam on November 17 at home.

Now the onus will be on Pinto to bail the UAE out of a difficult situation in the qualifiers.

Pinto will bring a wealth of experience to the UAE dugout, having managed Colombia, Honduras and Costa Rica at the international level.

And it was with the Costa Rican team that Pinto earned global fame, guiding the Central Americans to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals.

Having overcome the Group of Death with victories over former World Cup winners Uruguay and Italy and a goalless draw with England in Brazil, Pinto's Costa Rica beat Greece on penalties in the round of 16 before bowing out in the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout against a star-studded Netherlands team.

A man with a volatile temper who had been twice banned for brawling with rival managers, Pinto's tactical acumen is beyond doubt.

Pinto, who outfoxed the likes of Cesare Prandelli and Oscar Tabarez to help Costa Rica top the Group of Death in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, will now be expected to weave his magic as the UAE national team look to defy the odds in their attempt to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

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