Recently-dismissed Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza is determined to close on Asia’s football heavyweights after he travelled to Dubai on Tuesday in order to seal a two-year deal as the UAE’s next coach.
Bauza, 59, departed from his native country after terms were agreed to succeed Mahdi Ali and reignite the Whites’ faltering bid for a second-ever World Cup qualification. This marks an instant return to work after he was sacked last month after just eight miserable matches in charge of La Albiceleste.
Speaking to reporters outside Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires, El Paton targeted advancements towards Group B-opponents Japan and Australia on the Road to Russia.
“I know the soccer of that area because I worked four months in Arabia [at Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in 2009],” he told ESPN Argentina. “It’s not the Emirates but I know the nature of the players from there.
“I’m traveling to close on details of the contract and to see the work conditions. There is a game in 25 days [in Thailand on June 13].
“We have to know the team and get it ready. I saw some videos but I need to know it more.
“The goal is to be close to Japan and Australia, the two big teams in that area.”
Bauza – who won three caps and travelled to World Cup 1990 as a player – has concurred on an outline agreement which expires immediately after the 2019 Asian Cup, which is to be held in the Emirates. The highlights of his managerial career have been winning the Copa Libertadores with Ecuador’s LDU Quito in 2008 and Argentina’s San Lorenzo in 2014.
The UAE are fourth with three games left in the third-and-final round of qualifying for World Cup 2018, one place and four points outside the advancement spots in Group B.
After the match in Bangkok versus already-eliminated opponents, they host Bert van Marwijk’s high-flying Saudi Arabia on August 31 and finish off against Iraq on September 5. They will likely need to take all nine points to stand any chance of success.