World Cup 2018: Edgardo Bauza leaves UAE to manage Saudi Arabia in Russia tournament

Saudi football federation signs contract with former Argentina manager, who will replace Bert van Marwijk after contract disagreements with Dutchman.

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2016, file photo, then Argentina's coach Edgardo Bauza gives instructions to his players during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Colombia in San Juan, Argentina. Bauza replaced Bert van Marwijk as head coach of Saudi Arabia just days after the Dutchman led the team to its first qualifying spot at a World Cup since 2006. A win over Japan on Sept. 5, 2017 sealed Saudi Arabia��������s place at Russia in 2018, but van Marwijk, who took the job in 2015, and the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) were unable to agree on a new contract.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
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Edgardo Bauza has resigned as UAE football manager to take charge of the Saudi Arabian national team just nine days after the latter qualified to play in the 2018 World Cup finals.

Bauza, who replaced Mahdi Ali in May, was at the helm for just four months during which time the UAE came very close to World Cup qualification themselves. During his reign, the UAE played the last three matches of their 'Road to Russia' campaign, drawing 1-1 with Thailand, beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 and losing to Iraq 1-0.

The Argentine will replace Bert van Marwijk, the man who guided the Saudi side to their first finals since 2006, after the Dutchman was unable to agree to a new deal with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF). Some media reports suggested it was because Van Marwijk, 65, said he could not reside in the country permanently, something the federation had requested.

Van Marwijk said he was disappointed at not being able to continue as manager. "It was my big dream to go to the World Cup," he said in a news release on Friday. "This was the reason why I started this job in 2015. When we started in 2015 nobody wanted to be part of the national team."

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Head coach Bert van Marwijk (C) of Saudi Arabia celebrates his side's 1-0 victory and qualified for the FIFA World Cup Russia after the FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Saudi Arabia and Japan at the King Abdullah Sports City on September 5, 2017 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)

The Dutchman also wished "the people of Saudi Arabia the best".

"I thank them for the support," he added. "I hope for the players they will have success in the World Cup. I feel we have done a great job together."

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Adel Ezzat, the SAFF chairman, thanked the UAE Football Association for agreeing to part with Bauza, who will become the third Argentine to take charge of Saudi Arabia at a World Cup finals. He will follow in the footsteps of Jorge Solari, at USA 1994, and Gabriel Calderon, at Germany 2006.

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