Ivan Jovanovic takes over from van Marwijk at UAE

United Arab Emirates have made their decision on the man to replace sacked Bert van Marwijk and to revive their flailing World Cup qualifying campaign

It wasn’t the start to the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifications that UAE had hoped van Marwijk was able to achieve but at the midway point of the qualifiers, the supposed favourite of the group are languishing in fourth spot behind three Southeast Asian teams in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

The cull was swift and decisive, with the former Netherlands head coach forced to part ways and in comes 57-year-old Serbian, Ivan Jovanovic. UAE Football Association (FA) made the appointment with the believe that Jovanovic’s experience in the UAE domestic league will help him ease into his new role.

“The decision to sign the coach came after the recent meetings that were held by the committee of technical affairs and national team support in the UAE FA. Ivan Jovanović has a good resume with special characteristics which meet the requirements of the committee of technical affairs, which include his knowledge in UAE football,” said Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Transitional Committee of the UAE FA.

Jovanovic had the experience of guiding UAE Pro League club side Al Nasr and has the vast experience of UEFA Champions League, having been there on numerous occasions with APOEL Nicosia where he also won plenty of Cyprus First Division titles.

His first baptism of fire will be a home tie against Malaysia on March 26 2018. In the reverse fixture UAE had managed to get the better of Tan Cheng Hoe’s Malaysia at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, coming from a goal behind to snatched what was seen as an undeserved 2-1 win.


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