Soccer-Arruabarrena takes over from van Marwijk as UAE coach


FILE PHOTO: Rodolfo Arruabarrena, coach of Boca Juniors, shouts at his players during their Copa Libertadores soccer match against River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo

February 14, 2022

(Reuters) – Argentina’s Rodolfo Arruabarrena has replaced Bert van Marwijk as head coach of the United Arab Emirates, the country’s football federation announced on Sunday.

Arruabarrena takes over after the Dutchman was fired on Saturday with the UAE in third place in Group A of the third round of Asia’s preliminaries for November’s World Cup finals with two games remaining.

“I am ready for this challenge to make history and achieve the goals of the football association,” said Arruabarrena, according to The National, a UAE-based newspaper.

“You know already that I don’t like to talk a lot, but to work a lot, with serious work.

“We want to take the chance that we have to qualify and make the best use of the current situation of the team. Everything is possible in football.”

Iran and South Korea have already claimed the two automatic finals berths available from Group A, leaving the UAE in a battle with Lebanon and Iraq for a playoff place.

The third-placed finishers in Asia’s two World Cup preliminary groups will face off in May or June, with the winners taking on South American opposition for a spot at the finals in Qatar.

The UAE currently have nine points from their first eight games and lead fourth-placed Lebanon by three points, with Iraq a further point adrift.

Arruabarrena, who has signed a contract through to the end of the Asian Cup in China next July, previously coached Dubai-based duo Al Wasl and Shabab Al Ahli. He was last employed by Egyptian side Pyramids FC.

The 46-year-old’s first game in charge will be against Iraq on March 24, followed five days later by a home meeting with South Korea.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Karishma Singh)





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