Katanec confirmed as new Uzbekistan head coach

The former Slovenia, United Arab Emirates and Iraq boss fills the vacancy created by the departure of Vadim Abramov, under whom the White Wolves failed to reach the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar.

The deal, which runs until 2025, will see Katanec guide Uzbekistan in their bid to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, as well as the Asian Qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

A title winner for Partizan Belgrade and Sampdoria in his playing career, Katanec made a name for himself as a coach when he led his native Slovenia to breakthrough qualifications for UEFA Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea Republic and Japan.

His first role in Asian football came when he took the reins of the United Arab Emirates in 2009, taking charge of their 2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign, while his most recent role was a near three-year spell in charge of Iraq, who he guided to the Round of 16 at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as well as the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar.

While the appointment of Katanec was only confirmed on Friday, the 58-year-old arrived in Uzbekistan more than a week prior, inspecting facilities and attending matches, including FC Nasaf’s 3-2 AFC Cup victory over FC Ahal on Wednesday.

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