UAE search for fifth boss since March 2017 after sacking Ivan Jovanovic without playing a game

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

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Saudi Arabia news: Al Hilal hero Bafetimbi Gomis urges Saudi Arabia to come together and ‘kill the virus’

Beloved Al Hilal hero Bafetimbi Gomis has urged the people of Saudi Arabia to “follow the rules” and treat the battle against coronavirus like “one final game”.

Gomis, 34, has been unable to play since the 2019/20 Saudi Professional League was postponed last month in a bid to curb the disease’s spread. There are currently 2,385 cases and 34 deaths recorded in the Kingdom, according to Google statistics.

This pandemic has caused stringent measures to be enacted there, with 24-hour curfews in operation for various parts of the country. Speaking on the 2019 AFC Champions League holder’s Twitter page at his home in Riyadh, Gomis urged compliance with the authorities demands.

“I hope you are good with your family at this difficult time,” said the ex-Lyon, Marseille, Swansea and Galatasaray striker. “As you see, I stay at home, I need you to stay at home.

“I do some exercise, watch some TV series, I follow the rules of Saudi, talk to some family, friends and team-mates.

“I have a message for you: let’s think we have one final game, a very important game for our country, and our opponent is the virus.

“But we have a very important and big coach: it’s the Ministry of Health. And if we listen to the ministry and follow the rules, we will kill the virus, together as a united country.

“Let’s do this, guys. We have to follow these rules again.

“Take care, I love you. We are all responsible and we will kill this virus, this is the way, Inshallah.”

Former France centre forward Gomis has netted 63 times in 77 run-outs since August 2018’s €7 million switch from Gala. He was top scorer when Hilal ended a 19-year wait to become Asian kings once again last November, struck 14 times

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Dubai Sports Council announces ‘Marathon At Home’ on April 10

Fancy running a marathon – the full 42195km distance – in these time of COVID-19? Then get your running shoes out and mark April 10 on your calendar.

Dubai Sports Council, in collaboration with ASICS Middle East and 5:30 Run club, have come up with an exciting new initiative, the Marathon at Home, which will take place under the umbrella of DSC’s ‘Be Fit, Be Safe’ and #stayhome campaigns, and is designed to keep members of UAE’s community in running shape inside their home.

The first such race of its kind in the world, Marathon at Home will be a timed 42.195km race open to people of all ages and abilities, and will take place on Friday April 10, between 8am and 6pm UAE time, with a 10-hour time cap.

Participants can decide on the shape of their running course, but running on a treadmill or any other training equipment will not be accepted. Running in public areas is also not allowed – the participant will need to physically run on ground, and inside their house.

The participants will also have to make sure they have a fully charged smartwatch or smartphone, with the Strava app installed and activated. They will have to join the “Marathon at Home” group on Strava and stay connected as the app will detect their movement and will assist in keeping track of their timing and distance traveled.

Registration for the Marathon at Home is open now, until April 6, through the website, but race entry is non-transferable between individuals and relays are not allowed.

There are plenty of prizes on offer for top finishers with all the participants receiving a finisher certificate from ASICSME and 5:30 Run, while all the finishers will receive an ASICS t-shirt and a finisher medal.

The top three

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