UAE fire gameless coach Jovanovic amid coronavirus pandemic

Reuters , Monday 6 Apr 2020

File Photo: Coach of Apoel Nicosie Ivan Jovanovic talks during a news conference before a training session in preparation of their Champions League soccer match against Olympique Lyon at the Gerland stadium in Lyon February 13, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates have sacked their Serbian coach Ivan Jovanovic without a single game in charge as his task of steering them to a pair of major tournaments was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE FA said on Monday.

Jovanovic, who won four Cypriot league titles with APOEL Nicosia and reached the 2012 Champions League quarter-finals with them, took over at UAE in December on a six-month contract in a bid to reach the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

“The UAE Football Association has terminated the contract of Ivan Jovanovic and his team of assistants, thanking him for his efforts and wishing him success,” the governing body said on its official website

“The decision was made based on the recommendation of the FA national teams and technical affairs committee, headed by Yusef Hussain Al-Sahlawi, the second vice-president of the federation and head of the committee.

“The FA board delegated the committee to sign a new technical staff to lead the team during the coming period.”

The pandemic brought to a halt World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers before Jovanovic could make his debut, leaving the UAE fourth in their World Cup qualifying group on four points from as many games behind Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

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