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Sport
Kit Bag

Say hello to new Al Ain coach Jorge Fossati

  |  July 27, 2013

The Uruguayan Jorge Fossati is entering the third decade of his career as a manager. Karim Jaafar / AFP
The Uruguayan Jorge Fossati is entering the third decade of his career as a manager. Karim Jaafar / AFP

Al Ain have confirmed the Uruguayan as their new coach, and he brings four decades of experience as a player and coach to the two-time defending champions. Paul Oberjuerge reviews some of the highlights of his career.

The early days The 60-year-old native of the capital, Montevideo, enjoyed a 21-season career as a goalkeeper, much of it with the domestic side Penarol, but he also played in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Colombia, and won three caps with his national team.

Coaching days He now enters the third decade of his career as a manager. After 13 seasons in South America, he moved to the Gulf in 2006 when he took over at the Qatar side Al Sadd, whom he led to all four domestic titles. His most recent job was with Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno.

A hard defeat Fossati was appointed Uruguay’s national coach in 2004, and only a 4-2 shoot-out loss to Australia, in Sydney, kept him from leading his countrymen to the final berth at Germany 2006. Said Fossati: “That was a bad time.”

Champions League glory He returned to Al Sadd for the 2010/11 season, and in November of 2011 he led the Qatar side to the Asian Champions League title in a 4-2 shoot-out victory over Jeonbuk of Korea. Al Sadd are the only Gulf team to win the continent’s biggest trophy since 2005.

Solving Barca At the Club World Cup, in December 2011, Al Sadd met Barcelona in the semi-finals. Asked about strategy, Fossati said: “I’ve got a plan. If they agree to my request we are allowed 15 or 16 players on the field, I think we have a chance!” Sadd played with 11; Barca won 4-0.

Qatar farewell He left Al Sadd in 2012 after a trophy-less campaign, but on good terms. Mohammed Ghanim, head of football operations, said: “He is one of the best coaches Al Sadd have had. Nobody can match Fossati’s contribution.”