Colombian manager Pinto to take charge of UAE team
Jorge Luis Pinto guided Costa Rica to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals. (Reuters)
Dubai - The vastly experienced Pinto will take over the reins following the departure of Serbian coach Ivan Jovanovic
After days of media speculation over the appointment of the new UAE national coach, the country's football association on Monday confirmed that Colombian manager Jorge Luis Pinto would be offered a contract to guide The Whites in the next rounds of the 2022 Fifa World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
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.
"The Football Association Board directs the General Secretariat to complete the contracting procedures with the Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto to assume the task of training our first national team for the coming period," the UAE FA tweeted on Monday.
Jovanovic, who had replaced Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk as the UAE coach last December, was sacked in April amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former Al Nasr manager left the team without a single official match in charge as the global health crisis had disrupted the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying matches.
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 stage of the qualifiers.
The four postponed matches will take place in October and November.
In their next clash in the qualifying campaign, the UAE will be playing 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 the 67-year-old 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 advance to the next round of the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.