Al Ain look set to hand their manager’s job to the Uruguayan Jorge Fossati as they prepare for new era following the shock departure of Cosmin Olaroiu who led the Garden City club to the Arabian Gulf League for two years in succession.
Fossati, 60, is a veteran coach with substantial experience in the Arabian Gulf.
Quique Sanchez Flores, who coached Al Ahli last season, and the former Al Jazira manager Abel Braga, had both been linked with Al Ain. However it is understood the club have been in talks with Fossati, and an official announcement is expected shortly.
His first spell in the Gulf was with Al Sadd in Qatar, where he won all four domestic trophies in his first season in 2006/07.
He was made the national team coach of Qatar in the following year but relinquished his job after undergoing a surgery that required a long recovery period.
Fossati, who has also coached Uruguay, returned to the Gulf in 2010 as the coach of Al Shabab and led the Saudi giants to the last-16 round of the Asian Champions League (ACL).
Following his sacking by Shabab, he rejoined Sadd and was a winner of the ACL with the Qatari club in 2011. He left in May 2012 to take charge of Cerro Porteno of Paraguay.
Officials at Al Ain were not available for comment yesterday but earlier a source told The National they were “negotiating a deal” with Fossati.
According to the official, there could also be changes to their quartet foreign players with only Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana captain who has topped the scoring charts in the league for the last two seasons, certain of keeping his job.
“The technical committee will meet with the new coach as soon as the appointment is made to discuss and evaluate the foreign players already with us,” the official said.
“Gyan is the only certainty at this point while the new coach will have the final say on the others already in contract with us.”
Jires Kembo-Ekoko, the Congolese forward, Mirel Radoi, the Romanian midfielder who followed Olaroiu to Al Ain from Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, and the Australian Alex Brosque, will have their roles evaluated although they all have contracts until July 2014.
Olaroiu, too, had 12 months remaining on his Al Ain contract and the club was considering an extension.
The Romanian’s decision to cross over on a three-year deal was a massive coup for Ahli, the league runners-up and winners of the President’s Cup.
Olaroiu will be presented to the media by Ahli tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Al Ain have snapped up the reserve Al Jazira goalkeeper Khalid Essa.
A highly rated goalkeeper, the move was given the sanction by Al Jazira management after the player expressed his desire for more first-team football.
Essa, 23, has been rated highly but had to play second fiddle to the No 1 choice and UAE goalkeeper Ali Khaseif. Essa opted for the champion side despite strong interest from Baniyas and Ahli.
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