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Meet the Coaches: Groups A, B & C

Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will be as much about the head coaches as they will be about the Continent's best players.

With just 40 days to go before the Continental showpiece kicks off with hosts United Arab Emirates taking on Bahrain in the tournament opener, takes a look at the 24 tacticians who will lead the Continent’s best in the biggest and best ever AFC Asian Cup.

There will be new faces in charge as several teams, including three of the five Asian teams who featured in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, will have new head coaches.

We take a look at the head coaches of Groups A, B and C.

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Group A

UAE, Thailand, India, Bahrain

The eyes of the home fans will be on Group A with head coach Alberto Zaccheroni, 65, expected to lead the hosts to glory on home soil, having finished as runners-up the last time the AFC Asian Cup was held in the United Arab Emirates.

Thailand's charge will be spearheaded by head coach Milovan Rajevac, 64, who has been at the helm since April, 2017. The Serbian has steered Thailand into the 2018 AFF Cup semi-finals with the War Elephants seeking a sixth regional title.

Englishman Stephen Constantine (pictured above), 56, has been in charge of India since 2015, having previously coached the South Asians in 2002-2005.

Czech Miroslav Soukop, 53, is the fourth tactician in Group A, having been in charge of Bahrain since July 2016, having previously coached Yemen.

Group B
Australia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan

Australia’s defence of the AFC Asian Cup will be plotted by Graham Arnold (pictured above), 55, who took charge after their Russia 2018 campaign.

Syria, making a return to the AFC Asian Cup after missing out on the 2015 edition, will be led by the highly experienced Bernd Stange (pictured below), 70, with the German being coaxed to come out of retirement by the West Asians.

Noureddine Ould Ali, 46, is the man Palestine are counting on to lead them into the knockout stage, with the Algerian among the head coaches appointed after the Qualifiers ended in March.

Vital Borkelmans, 55, is another new head coach with Jordan having appointed him in September. The Belgian is vastly experienced, having served as the Number 2 to Belgium national team coach Marc Wilmots from 2012-2016.

Group C
Korea Republic, China PR, Philippines, Kyrgyz Republic

Korea Republic placed their faith in Paulo Bento, 49, after their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign ended with a 2-0 win over outgoing champions Germany. The former Portugal manager has settled in well as the Taeguk Warriors are unbeaten in six matches played since his appointment.

Marcello Lippi (pictured above), 70, who led Italy to the 2006 FIFA World Cup title, has been in charge of China PR since 2016 and his experience will be vital as the East Asians look to make a mark on the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Sweden’s Sven-Goran Erikkson, 70, will be plotting the Philippines’ course in their maiden appearance in the AFC Asian Cup, with the former England manager already having had a positive impact with the Azkals through to the 2018 AFF Cup semi-finals.

Alexander Krestinin, 40, has been Kyrgyz Republic head coach since 2014 and he repaid the faith in him by guiding the Central Asians to their first AFC Asian Cup Finals.

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