Pinto passionate about taking UAE to the World Cup
New UAE coach Jorge Luis Pinto (centre) was officially unveiled at the UAEFA headquarters in Dubai on Wednesday. - Supplied photo
Dubai - The new coach, who has been handed a two-year deal, was officially unveiled in Dubai on Wednesday
New UAE coach Jorge Luis Pinto has vowed to make a mark in the country's football and help realise their dream of qualifying for the World Cup in 2022.
The 67-year-old Colombian, who was offered a contract by the UAE Football Association at the end of last month, was officially unveiled at the FA's headquarters in Dubai on Wednesday.
Pinto, who outfoxed the likes of Oscar Tabarez's Uruguay and Cesar Prandelli's Italy to pilot Costa Rica to the quarterfinals, their best ever showing, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has been handed a two-year deal and takes over the reins from Serbian Ivan Jovanovic.
He had landed in Dubai from Bogota, the Colombian capital, on Tuesday.
"I followed and analysed many of the matches of the Arab and Asian teams, and football is an international language, not complicated, and I am sure that we will contribute to the development of the UAE team," Pinto said on Wednesday.
"The UAE is developed at all levels. Training the team is a wonderful challenge, and I am passionate about going to the World Cup with the UAE," Pinto, nicknamed 'El Explosivo,' added.
Pinto, who has a vast managerial experience, having coached his native Colombia as well as Honduras, apart from being a serial winner at club level in Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Venezuela, but his first foray in the Middle East, revealed that he had done his homework by pouring over videos of the UAE.
"I have a lot of notes about the UAE team, and most importantly, how the team plays collectively. And I want to leave my imprint with the UAE," he said.
Pinto said that he and his support staff will be working on all aspects, with the focus on the defence.
"I want the players to start thinking and dream about the World Cup finals. The first camp will be an opportunity to get to know the players and we will then look to develop all aspects during the preparations. I want to work closely with them. In football, a coach is only successful when he is close to his players and I'm very excited about the start of this new project," said Pinto.
Apart from the team, Pinto spoke about the enormous expectations that he will carry, that of the Emirati fans.
"We will ask the players for more sacrifices, competition and seriousness. As a coach, I have a great responsibility in front of the Emirati football fans. The position we are in, in the qualifiers, is not ideal but there is optimism, desire and the enthusiasm to become a stronger side and meet the expectations of the fans. I would call on everyone to cooperate. When the coaching staff, players, fans and all elements of the game join forces, we will be stronger," he felt.
The UAE, who are currently fourth in Group G, have to win their remaining four fixtures to make it to the next round. The top team and the four best runners-ups from the eight groups can progress to the next round.
The Whites host Malaysia at home on October 8 before travelling to Indonesia for their second fixture on October 13. Their remaining two matches are at home to Thailand on November 12 and Vietnam on November 17.