Meet the Coaches: Groups D, E & F
Kuala Lumpur: As the cast of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 head into the last 40 days before the Continental showpiece kicks off on January 5, the head coaches are laying their final plans.
There will be a mix of new and old as several head coaches have been with their teams for years while some will be leading their sides into a major competition for the first time.
We take a look at the head coaches of Groups D, E and F.
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IR Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Yemen
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Years go by, the games and challenges flow and we end up achieving these beautiful and symbolic records; with 4 World Cup qualifications and more than 100 National Team wins. Time to express my humble tribute and deep gratitude to all those who contributed to this fantastic journey, starting with my family and friends, but also to the managers, coaches and, above all, to all the players who have always trusted me. Thank you all for your company, trust, commitment, and sacrifice. 🙏 CQ
Islamic Republic of Iran’s bid to win the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since 1976 will be led by Carlos Queiroz, 65, who has been in charge of Team Melli since 2011 and having led them to two FIFA World Cups.
The highly-experienced Srečko Katanec is the man charged by Iraq to lead them in the AFC Asian Cup, with the Slovenian, 55, being appointed in September. He is revered in his country for leading the national team to their first FIFA World Cup Finals, in 2002.
Park Hang-seo, 59, has Vietnam soaring since being entrusted as head coach, leading the U-23 squad to a runners-up finish in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in January and the semi-finals of the 2018 Asian Games Indonesia. The senior side are through to the 2018 AFF Cup semi-finals, with the Korea Republic tactician aiming for a second title before taking on the Continent’s best.
Slovakian Ján Kocian (picture above), 60, is another recent appointment, having taken charge of Yemen in October. The West Asians are another of the three debutants in the AFC Asian Cup Final (South Yemen qualified in 1976) and the much-travelled Kocian will be aiming to steer his squad into the knockout stage.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, DPR Korea
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s ability to get Saudi Arabia to bounce back from their 5-0 defeat to Russia in their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup match, which saw their campaign ending with a 2-1 win over Egypt, meant the Spaniard, 50, being tasked with charting the Green Falcons bid for a fourth AFC Asian Cup title.
Felix Sanchez, 43, has been part of the Qatar set-up since 2006 and was appointed head coach of the senior team after the Spaniard proved himself with the U-19 squad, who won the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship. He led the U-23 side to a bronze medal finish in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in January.
Lebanon’s bid will be planned by Miodrag Radulovic (picture above), 51, with the Montenegrin having been in charge since 2015 and having led the Cedars to a top-place finish in qualifying ahead of DPR Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
DPR Korea, who will appearing in their third consecutive AFC Asian Cup, will be led by Kim Yong-jun as the East Asians attempt to advance to the knockout stage.
Japan, Oman, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
Hajime Moriyasu was the man Japan turned to after their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign ended in the Round of 16 and the former international has hit the ground running, with the Blue Samurai undefeated in five matches since he took charge. Japan’s fans will be hoping the run continues with the East Asians lifting a record-extending fifth AFC Asian Cup title.
Pim Verbeek (picture above), 62, will attempt to steer Oman into the knockout stage and has the experience to do so after some high profile coaching stints, including leading Korea Republic to a third-place finish in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. He led Oman to the Gulf Cup title in 2017.
Uzbekistan, having narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, gave Hector Cuper (picture above), 63, the mandate to lead them for the next four years. The Argentine was head coach of Egypt for three years, leaving after Russia 2018.
Ýazguly Hojageldyýew, 41, fresh from leading Altyn Asyr to a runners-up finish in the 2018 AFC Cup, will attempt to steer Turkmenistan to the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup in only their second appearance in the Finals.
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