Olympic football team coach Mahdi Ali has been unanimously chosen to replace Abdullah Al Misfer as head coach of the UAE’s senior national team.
Yousuf Al Sarkal, chairman of the UAE Football Association, confirmed the decision after Monday night’s board meeting at the governing body’s Al Khawaneej headquarters in Dubai.
Ali, 47, who guided the UAE’s Under-23s to their first ever Olympic Games this summer, will now sit with a technical committee to formally discuss a three-year contract.
Those formalities withstanding, Ali will become the first Emirati to accept the role in an official capacity beyond that of caretaker coach. It follows his nine-year association with the UAE’s youth set-up, guiding the Under-16s in 2003 through to eventual Olympic qualification in 2012.
Along the way Ali led this ‘golden generation’ to a silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games and won the 2008 Under-19 Asian Cup.