posted on 20/05/2012: 960 views
Yousef Yaqoub Al Serkal has been appointed President of the UAE Football Association after winning last night's ballot by a comprehensive margin from his only rival Abdullah Hareb Al Falahi.
Al Serkal and Al Falahi sat side by side talking and smiling as the ballots were cast by representatives of the various clubs in the Emirates. But as the votes were counted, both candidates appeared anxious.
The anxiety evident on Al Serkal's face eased when it was announced he had won 26 of the 28 votes that had been cast. Following the announcement of his victory, Al Serkal patted Al Falahi and the two exchanged friendly banter before parting ways. Mohammed Thani Murshid Rumaithi was elected Vice-President.
Al Serkal is no newcomer to the role. He served as the President of the UAE FA from 2002 to 2006 and was appointed President of the interim committee of the FA after Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi and his team stepped down in December last year.
"Our focus is to improve football in the country and winning by such a big margin gives us the confidence that I have the backing of nearly all of the clubs in the UAE,” Al Serkal said. "We know what needs to be done and we have a plan to go about achieving what we need to do.
"Me and my team are keen to work hard to improve the country's footballing fortunes and are hoping our hard work will show in time. I have big plans for football here but none of those were revealed during my campaign because I didn't want my rivals to take advantage of it, but these will be put forward before the new committee for their approval before we put them into action.”
Al Serkal had earlier been accused by rival Al Falahi's camp of having breached FA and FIFA statutes to enhance his position in the election race. Asked for his opinion on the allegations after winning the elections, Al Serkal added: "I refuse to comment on any of that because it doesn't matter anymore.”
One of Al Serkal's first tasks in charge will be to appoint a permanent coach for the UAE national team. Dr Abdullah Miser has been guiding the team on an interim basis since the The Whites parted company with former boss Srecko Katanec last September.
The Slovenian paid the price for a poor start to the UAE's doomed World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign which saw them lose five of their six games and miss out on their first finals since 1990.
Al Serkal has stated in the past he would be keen for Argentine legend Diego Maradona, coach of UAE Pro League side Al Wasl, to take up the reins. "Yes, we have thought of Maradona to lead the team. He is one of the names you cannot lose sight of, especially since he is already here," he had said.
However, the smart money remains on Emirati coach Mahdi Ali, whose stock has risen since guiding UAE's Under-23 team to this summer's London Olympic Games for the first time in the country's fledgling history. A host of players have voiced their support for Ali given the stellar work he has done over the past few years working at various youth levels in the country. – Sport 360°
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