Sharjah deny manager Abdulaziz Al Anbari has left club to take UAE post

Ivan Jovanovic was sacked by the FA this week before taking charge of a game

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: John McAuley: Sharjah manager Abdulaziz Al Anbari. Sharjah v Al Taawoun, Asian Champions League. Tuesday, February 11th, 2020. Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Sharjah have denied reports they had parted company with Abdulaziz Al Anbari after he was linked with the UAE managerial job.

The UAE champions posted the news on their social media accounts late on Monday, the same day the Football Association announced it had dismissed Ivan Jovanovic. The Serb, who was appointed in December on a six-month contract, left before taking charge of the team for a match.

A post on Sharjah’s official Twitter account read: “Sharjah Football Club denies the validity of the news circulated about the end of its contract with the first-team coach, Abdulaziz Al Anbari.”

Al Anbari, 42, has for some time been tipped to manage the UAE. The Emirati, who represented his country as a player, guided Sharjah last season to a first league championship title in 23 years.

A member of the previous Sharjah side to land the crown, in 1996, Al Anbari became the first Emirati to manage a team to the Arabian Gulf League crown. He was later named the league’s coach of the year.

This season, Sharjah are fifth in the table, two points off second place and eight off leaders Shabab Al Ahli. The league was last month postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Jovanovic’s dismissal by the FA came as a shock. The former Al Nasr manager had been expected to guide the UAE through their final four qualifiers in this round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

However, those matches, originally slated for late last month and early June, have been suspended as football around the world attempts to come to terms with the impact of the pandemic. No new dates have been announced, although a September-November slot is mooted.

The FA said on Monday that the search for a new national-team manager had begun.