HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former AC Milan and Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni is the new head coach of the United Arab Emirates.
Zaccheroni, who won the Serie A title in 1999 with Milan and steered the Japanese to Asian Cup success in 2011 and the World Cup finals in 2014, will take over from Argentina’s Edgardo Bauza, who quit last month to take charge of World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia.
The UAE will host the Asian Cup finals in 2019 and Zaccheroni has the task of putting together a team that can challenge at the continental championships after the country missed out on a place at the World Cup in Russia next year.
“I have to concentrate on the future, not what happened in the past,” Zaccheroni told a news conference announcing his appointment.
”It’s a very big and important challenge for everybody, so we need to collaborate together in order to achieve this.
”Clearly this is my responsibility as the coach, as well as the players, to do our best so that people can change their mind away from the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup.
“It’s not easy now to talk about our ambitions for the Asian Cup but the most important thing is to be competitive.”
The UAE have qualified for the World Cup finals once -- in 1990 -- while they have never won the Asian Cup, losing in the final to Saudi Arabia the last time it was played in the country in 1996.
“The UAE has a talented team of players capable of achieving good results,” said Zaccheroni.
“This will only be achieved through performance and teamwork. I will do my utmost to achieve the best results at the Asian Cup in 2019 and ensure we will be stars in this tournament.”
Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Neville Dalton