Ivan Jovanovic named as new UAE national team manager

Serb, 57, chosen 'due to the distinctive characteristics of his biography that fit the criteria set'

Ivan Jovanovic has been named the new manager of the UAE national team. Pawan Singh / The National
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The Football Association has announced Ivan Jovanovic as new UAE national team manager.

The Serb replaces Dutchman Bert van Marwijk, who was sacked following the UAE's poor showing at this month's Gulf Cup when they exited at the group stage.

Jovanovic, 57, has extensive knowledge of UAE football, having twice managed Arabian Gulf League club Al Nasr.

The former APOEL coach has been out of work since he was sacked by the Dubai team for a second time last December after less than a year at the helm. He had previously managed Al Nasr from 2013-2016 when he led the club to a President's Cup and Arabian Gulf Cup double in 2014.

Jovanovic is charged with lifting a team somewhat on its knees after suffering two defeats in three group games at the Gulf Cup in Doha, leading to Van Marwijk's dismissal after less than nine months in charge.

The national team's 2022 World Cup qualifying bid is also in need of a kick-start after the Emirates suffered successive defeats to to Thailand and then Vietnam after victories against Malaysia and Indonesia.

The UAE face Malaysia at home on March 26 before playing Indonesia away five days later. They will conclude their campaign against Thailand and Vietnam in June with only one team guaranteed to advance to the next stage of qualifying.

Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Transitional Committee of the UAE FA, said Jovanovic was chosen ahead of other candidates after the committee "studied a number of CVs for coaches to oversee training" for the national team.

“A choice was made on Ivan Jovanovic due to the distinctive characteristics of his biography that fit the criteria set. The most important of which is his ambition and full knowledge of Emirati football.

“The current stage [of World Cup qualifying] requires the concerted efforts of all sporting bodies, institutions, clubs, media and audiences in order to provide an appropriate environment for the national team to perform its tasks in the best way. This stage requires working with the spirit of one team in order to achieve positive results in regional, continental and international forums.”