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Ali set to be named senior team coach
Hisham Al Gizouli / 11 August 2012
The meeting of the UAEFA board of directors has been adjourned to Monday instead of Sunday as it was originally planned.
“The FA board of directors will meet on Monday at 9.30am at the association’s offices in Al Khawaneej. The meeting will be followed by a news conference at the the same venue and Ramadan Iftar for the media members at the Festival City,” Chasib Majeed, media manager of the UAE football governing body told Khaleej Times on Friday. But the spokesman didn’t cite specific reason for the decision and declined to clarify the agenda of the meeting or the purpose of the subsequent press conference.
However, other sources reconfirmed that an agreement has been finalised with the (former) Olympic national team manager Mahdi Ali to take the reins as the new coach of the senior national team.
Ali will succeed caretaker Dr. Abdulla Misfer who led the team during the final part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after the departure of Srecko Katanec.
Mahdi Ali Hassan Redha was born in Dubai on April 20, 1965. He started his football playing career at Al Ahli’s training school when he was eight years old. In 1983, he was promoted to the senior football team and showed himself as one of the most formidable spearheads of his time. He was eighteen when he won the President Cup with his team. In 1985, Ali was picked by Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira for the senior national team. Though he was talented, Ali didn’t make his mark and failed to impress in the presence of top performers including Al Wasl’s forward Fahad Khamis who captained the team which made history by reaching the 1990 FIFA World Cup finals in Italy.
In 1990, Ali hung up his boots at the age of 25 and started his new career as an engineer while keeping an eye on football coaching. He attended many top level training courses, and started as assistant coach for the Under-17 national team before climbing the ladder step by step to hit the highest point of success thanks to his great achievements. Ali became the first man to win continental silverware for his country after he guided the youth national team to land the 2008 AFC U-19 Cup in Saudi Arabia. And later he won with the same squad the Gulf U-23 Cup in Doha and finished runners-up to Japan in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. But, his unprecedented effort to take the Olympic national team to the 2012 London Games finals will remain a new height and landmark in the country’s football for years to come.
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