9/8/2018 5:17:47 PM (GMT+3)

New Iraq coach Katanec promises to revive lost glory

New Iraq coach Katanec promises to revive lost glory

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Sreeko Katanec, who was appointed as  Iraq head coach last week, exuded confidence to revive the team’s fortune in Asia.

“I am happy and proud to be the new coach of Iraq, but there is not going to be a quick solution,” said Katanec, who replaced Basim Qasim.

The former Slovenian superstar has signed a three-year contract expected to be worth $1.2m per year.

But the 55-year-old former Slovenia and Yugoslavia international’s biggest test would be at the 2019 Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This is going to be a long process and it is going to take time. It is an exciting challenge. There is a lot of talent and if we can start moving in the right direction, I am confident we can have success,” said Katanec, who had previously managed Macedonia, UAE and Slovenia.

The Lions of Mesopotamia missed out on qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in Russia after finishing fifth in the Asian qualifiers, but secured a berth in the next January’s continental competition.

They are drawn with Iran, Vietnam and Yemen in Group D.

Iraq will play an international friendly with Kuwait on Monday and Katanec is eager to see the team in competitive action before the event in the UAE.

“Asian Cup is an important one as it is also a major step in preparation for qualification for 2022 World Cup,” he added.

Iraq, who won the title in 2007, will open their UAE 2019 campaign against Vietnam on January 8 before facing Yemen four days later and Iran on January 16 in the group stage. (Source: AFP)