Time runs out for Cuper and Uzbeks make changes for next round of World Cup qualifiers

September 24 – Hector Cuper has been dismissed as coach of Uzbekistan. The Argentinean will be succeeded by Vadim Abramov.

Cuper has become the first casualty in Asia en route to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In the opening match of the qualifying campaign Uzbekistan suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to Palestine, led by Nourredine Ould Ali.

On Monday, the Uzbekistan Football Association (UFA) announced on their website that Cuper had left his role with the national side. He had been appointed last year with a four-year deal and the explicit assignment of leading the Uzbeks to the 2022 finals. Uzbekistan have never qualified for a World Cup.

He was the first foreign coach to lead the Uzbeks since Russia’s Valeri Nepomniachi left the role in late 2006. He replaced caretaker manager Timur Kapadze. He had led Egypt to the 2018 World Cup, but his team failed to garner any points in Russia.

At the Asian Cup in January Cuper guided his team to the knockout phase where they fell on penalties to Australia. Cuper has a lengthy and successful track record of playing highly organised and defensive football and his style of play was perhaps not the right fit for Uzbekistan. Last year, Uzbekistan won the U-23 AFC Championship in China. They defeated Vietnam 2-1 after extra time and the Central Asian nation has its hopes fixed on this crop of players to take the team forward.

The Argentine coach will be replaced by Abramov, who oversaw Uzbekistan’s run to the last four of the Asian Cup in 2011, the team’s best ever result in the continental competition. Abramov will leave his duties at Bunyodkor behind to take charge of the national team.

Uzbekistan host Yemen and travel to Singapore in October in their next  Group D World Cup qualifiers.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1611605619labto1611605619ofdlr1611605619owedi1611605619sni@o1611605619fni1611605619

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