Argentina’s Rodolfo Arruabarrena wants to make history with UAE national team


The UAE are in third place in Group A of the third round of Asia’s preliminaries for November’s World Cup finals with two games remaining.

Argentina’s Rodolfo Arruabarrena has replaced Bert van Marwijk as head coach of the UAE, 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.

“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.

Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of the National Teams Committee of the UAE Football Association, said the association have high expectations from Arruabarina.

“We decided to appoint Arruabarina because of the great experience he has in UAE football, in addition to his knowledge of the players and their abilities. Our ambition for the national team is to qualify for the World Cup and win the Gulf Cup next January, in addition to competing in the 2023 Asian Cup, where we hope to reach the final,” Al Tayer said.

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

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