Bert van Marwijk to continue as manager in UAE's bid to reach 2022 World Cup

New national team committee recommend Dutchman stays on despite Fifa Arab Cup exit

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Bert van Marwijk seems set to remain as UAE manager through to the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The Dutchman’s future has been the subject of much speculation following the national team’s exit earlier this month from the Fifa Arab Cup. The UAE were beaten 5-0 in the quarter-final by hosts Qatar, with the result prompting the resignation of the Football Association’s national teams and technical affairs committee.

However, the new committee convened on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues, chief among them Van Marwijk’s position. The committee, led by former Al Nasr chairman Humaid Al Tayer, have recommended to the FA board of directors that Van Marwijk and his technical staff should continue.

The committee, which also includes as consultant former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado, confirmed its full support for the national team in their bid to reach the World Cup.

The UAE resume the final round of qualification next month, with what promises to be a pivotal home match against Syria on January 27. They then face Group A leaders Iran away on February 1.

Currently third in the standings after six matches, Van Marwijk's side sit on six points, eight behind South Korea in the first automatic qualification spot and 10 behind Iran. Third place remains the most likely route to Qatar 2022, with the third-placed sides in each of the two groups meeting to decide who then progresses to the intercontinental play-off.

The final round concludes in March – the UAE round off the group with fixtures against Iraq away and South Korea at home – with the play-offs expected for May and June.

In his second stint as UAE manager, Van Marwijk signed a contract upon his return in December last year through until the end of the third round. The UAE have only once previously participated at a World Cup, in 1990.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the committee reviewed a number of names nominated for FA technical director.

Updated: December 23, 2021, 6:26 AM
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