Bert van Marwijk officially begins second stint as UAE manager after signing contract

Dutchman returns to the role after a previous nine-month spell in charge last year as national team prepares for postponed World Cup qualifiers

Bert van Marwijk after signing his contract to become the new manager of the UAE national team. Courtesy UAE FA
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Bert van Marwijk has officially begun his work as UAE national team manager after signing the contract for his return to the role on Thursday.

The Dutchman, who managed the UAE for nine months last year, agreed earlier this week to succeed Jorge Luis Pinto, after the Colombian left his position last month without having managed a competitive match. His tenure lasted five months.

Van Marwijk, 68, met with FA president Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi to discuss his remit, which includes guiding the UAE through the final four qualifiers of the second round of World Cup qualification. Those fixtures take place in March and June.

Van Marwijk is to attend two matches in Round 10 of the Arabian Gulf League, taking in Al Wasl against Al Jazira on Thursday night and Al Nasr against Al Ain on Friday. Both matches will be played in Dubai.

Appointed initially in March last year, Van Marwijk was dismissed the following December after the UAE’s group-stage exit from the Gulf Cup of Nations.

At the time, the national team were fourth in Group G of World Cup qualification, five points off leaders Vietnam. However, they have a game in hand over their rivals. Given the pandemic, no qualifiers have been played since.

Van Marwijk, who masterminded Saudi Arabia’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup, was originally succeeded by Ivan Jovanovic, but the former Nasr manager left in April without taking charge of a match. Van Marwijk is expected to organise a training camp in Dubai early next month.