FA gives green light to 'complete the signing' of Jorge Luis Pinto as UAE manager

Colombian, 67, had already accepted in principle FA's initial offer

The Millonarios coach, Jorge Luis Pinto  during a match between Millonarios and Independiente Santa Fe as part of the Liga Aguila 2019 II at Estadio El Campin on October 23, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. (Photo by Daniel Garzon Herazo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Football Association has given the green light to finalise the deal to appoint Jorge Luis Pinto as UAE manager.

The FA released a short statement on social media on Monday stating its board of directors “instructs the FA’s general secretariat to complete the signing” of Pinto, who has previously managed Colombia - his home country - Chile and Honduras.

Pinto, 67, had late last week accepted in principle the FA's initial proposal, but was said to be growing frustrated at the delay in pushing through the deal. The National understands that, while the contract is still likely to be agreed, there remain a number of hurdles to overcome.

Pinto had told Colombian media during the weekend that he was “very close” to reaching an agreement to take him to the Emirates, and that he was already assessing players and UAE matches through video. He was previously considered for the UAE job, in 2017, before the FA eventually opted for Alberto Zaccheroni.

A manager with vast experience, albeit none outside South America, Pinto is best known for leading Costa Rica to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. It remains the country's best performance at a global finals.

The Colombian then went close to taking Honduras to the 2018 tournament, but his side lost to Australia in the final play-off and thus missed out on a place in Russia. He stepped down soon after. Most recently, he managed in the Colombian league with Millonarios. Pinto left the club last year.

The FA is seeking a successor to Ivan Jovanovic, who was dismissed in April without having taken charge of a match. The former Al Nasr manager was initially tasked with guiding the UAE through the final four matches of this round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

However, the fixtures were postponed from their original dates in March and June because of the coronavirus. They have been rescheduled for October and November.

The UAE lie fourth in Group G, five points off leaders Vietnam, although they have a game in hand. The national team face Malaysia at home on October 8, before taking on Indonesia away five days later.

They round off their campaign against Thailand and Vietnam, both at home, on November 12 and 17. Only the group winners are guaranteed to progress to the third round of qualification, alongside the four best runners-up from the eight groups.

The FA had considered a number of candidates for the position, including Al Dhafra manager Vuk Rasovic, former Al Ain and Al Ahli manager Cosmin Olaroiu and Juan Antonio Pizzi, who managed Saudi Arabia at the last World Cup. Rodolfo Arruabarrena, the former Al Wasl and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai manager, was another name said to be under review. However, the Argentine was never approached.