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After 5 months and 3 friendlies, UAE fires coach Pinto

November 30, 2020

The United Arab Emirates on Monday dismissed Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto as coach, five months after his appointment and before the resumption of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup.

Pinto, a 67-year-old Colombian who led Costa Rica to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, was the UAE’s fourth coach since January 2019.

He was hired in June on a contract until 2022.

“After long meetings with coach Pinto, we agreed that it was difficult to continue our relationship and we decided to terminate the contract,” said the head of the Emirates national teams committee, Youssef Hussein.

“The replacement coach will be announced soon,” Hussein told a press conference, adding that the new coach will be chosen from three people who have worked in the local league.

Under Pinto, the Emirates played three friendlies, beating Tajikistan with difficulty (3-2) and losing to Uzbekistan (2-1) and, most recently, Bahrain (3-1).

“It was difficult to carry out my mission with the national team for several reasons, including a difference of views,” said Pinto.

He added that the Covid-19 pandemic complicated his work.

“I had big dreams of reaching the World Cup with the Emirates, and I hope it will happen with another coach,” said Pinto.

Pinto succeeded the Serbian Ivan Jovanovic, who was in the job from December 2019 to April 2020, before being dismissed without having played any matches.

Alberto Zaccheroni, who led AC Milan to a Serie A title in 1999 and won the Asian Cup with Japan, quit in January 2019 after leading UAE to the semi-finals of the Asian Cup.

The Italian was followed by former Dutch national coach Bert van Marwijk who lasted from March 2019 until that December when he was fired following a 4-2 loss to Qatar in the Arabian Gulf Cup.

After parting ways with La Sele following the 2014 World Cup, Pinto has coached in Honduras and Colombia in addition to the UAE.

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