Jorge Luis Pintos wait to experience a competitive UAE fixture has been stretched into next year after the AFC and FIFA decided upon the rescheduling of this winters World Cup 2022 qualifying resumption because of the current COVID-19 situation in many countries.
The pandemics outbreak earlier this year had forced the final four dates in Asias second round to be pushed back until October and November. They had originally been set for March and June.
A logjam is guaranteed in 2021 and beyond – as organisers bid to complete the second and third-round cycles before June 2022s rearranged inter-confederation play-offs. Fresh arrangements will be announced in due course, according to a statement released by the AFC on Wednesday morning.
It read: In light of the current COVID-19 situation in many countries, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have jointly decided that the upcoming qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, originally scheduled to take place during the international match windows in October and November 2020, will be rescheduled to 2021.
With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, FIFA and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches. Further details on the new dates for the next round of qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be announced in due course.
Most teams excluding the UAE, who must play four – have three matches left in the current phase. A total of 10 match days are required in the next stage and the play-off is two-legged.
Pinto, 67, was unveiled last month as the Whites fifth permanent head coach in three, tumultuous, years. The World Cup 2014 quarter-finalist, with Costa Rica, has inherited a nation who sit fourth in Group G, five points off leaders Vietnam albeit with a game in hand.
Only section winners are guaranteed to progress to the third round, alongside the four best runners-up from the eight pools. The UAE have only previously made the 1990 edition.
A 28-man squad is being put through their paces in Serbia for a three-week camp until August 23. This followed an opening meeting at Al Ains Hazza bin Zayed Stadium from July 22-27.
The Colombian is next supposed to oversee debut friendlies versus Jordan on September 4 and Tajikistan on September 8.
Predecessor Ivan Jovanovic was dismissed in April without playing a match, 106 days into a six-month arrangement. This followed Marchs initial enforced pause.
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