The UAE have begun the search for a fifth permanent coach in three years after Ivan Jovanovic’s short-term deal was terminated without playing a match.
Jovanovic, 57, inked a six-month deal in December as replacement for Bert van Marwijk in the wake of the Dutchman’s dismal start to World Cup 2022 qualifying’s second round and group-stage exit at the 24th Gulf Cup. The two-time former Al Nasr tactician, however, witnessed March and June’s fixtures cancelled because of coronavirus.
A new national team committee at the UAE Football Association then this week recommended the Serbian’s dismissal. A statement by the governing body declared they would sign a replacement in the “coming period”, with Al Khaleej newspaper linking ex-Whites midfielder and Sharjah’s 2018/19 Arabian Gulf League champion Abdulaziz Al Anbari to the post.
“The UAE Football Association terminated the contract of Ivan Jovanovic and his team of assistants, thanking him for his efforts with the national team, wishing him success in his next steps, praising his good cooperation and sincerity throughout his tenure,” a statement on Monday read.
“The decision was made based on the recommendations of the Football Association’s National Teams and Technical Affairs Committee.
“The board of the Football Association delegated the ‘National Teams and Technical Affairs Committee’ to sign with a new technical staff to lead the team during the coming period.”
The UAE had been set to host Malaysia on March 26 and visit Indonesia five days later. Their two remaining qualifiers at this initial stage were supposed to come at home in June, versus Thailand and Vietnam.
Coronavirus’ profound impact on the football calendar – and all aspects of society – caused the AFC to postpone these fixtures last month.
This leaves the Whites fourth in Group G and five points off leaders Vietnam, albeit with