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Al Ain boss Zoran Mamic is ‘extremely flattered’ but distances himself from links to UAE job

Al Ain boss Zoran Mamic is going nowhere, despite UAE links

Matt Monaghan 2018/09/08

Al Ain boss Zoran Mamic Al Ain is “extremely flattered” but has distanced himself from reports that he’s a possible replacement for struggling UAE supremo Alberto Zaccheroni, for whom the Football Association rallied behind on Saturday night.

Zaccheroni, 65, has come under increased pressure in the wake of Thursday’s woeful 2-0 friendly defeat against undercooked Trinidad and Tobago. The Italian has overseen a troubled build-up to January 2019’s Asian Cup on home soil – the Whites are winless in five matches and have scored just four times in 12 games overseen by him since his October 2017 arrival.

Legendary former Al Jazira tactician Henk ten Cate has already moved himself into position as a potential successor. But the candidature of last term’s Arabian Gulf League and President’s Cup double winner was also rumoured to be of interest to the worried UAE FA.

“I am extremely flattered and honoured that my name is mentioned in connection to the UAE head coach,” Mamic tweeted.

“But [the] national team has a coach, Mr Zaccheroni [who] is a great coach with an amazing career and as Al Ain coach I am totally focused on our next games.

“Al Ain will continue to support the national team as always.”

This preceded a tweet from the UAE FA’s official account that declared no talks had been held with any other coaches.

It read: “The UAE Football Association denies what is being circulated in the media and social networking sites about communicating with any coach to take over for the Asian Cup. We appeal to everyone to stand behind the Whites and not to disturb preparations for the championships.”

Mamic lifted five major trophies at Dinamo Zagreb from 2013-16, prior to a brief stint at Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr.

Al Ain poached him in February 2017. He made history in 2017/18 when Al Ain – the UAE’s most-decorated club – were guided to a first-ever double of the nation’s premier competitions.

Zaccheroni’s current Whites squad will meet minnows Laos on Tuesday in Catalonia.

The ex-AC Milan, Juventus and Japan supremo signed a contract until the end of the Asian Cup – a tournament in which he must make the final.

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