HONGKONG (Reuters) – Bert van Marwijk has been sacked as head coach of the United Arab Emirates, the country’s football federation said on Wednesday after the team was knocked out of the Gulf Cup.
The UAE were eliminated from the keenly-contested regional tournament on Tuesday following a 4-2 loss at the hands of Qatar in a group game both sides needed to win to advance to the semi-finals.
Van Marwijk, who led his native Netherlands to the final of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, took over as head coach of the UAE earlier this year having previously qualified neighbouring Saudi Arabia for the finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Similar expectations were placed on the 67-year-old when he replaced Alberto Zaccheroni but the UAE have struggled so far in qualifying for Qatar 2022.
The team are currently in fourth place in their group in the second phase of Asia’s preliminary rounds, five points behind leaders Vietnam but with a game in hand.
The UAE’s next World Cup qualifier will be on March 26, when they host Malaysia.
(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Kim Coghill)