DUBAI // Grafite, Al Ahli's Brazilian striker, said his compatriot Jakson Coelho was struggling with domestic issues and had informed him of his intention to travel to Brazil to sort them out with his wife.
Coelho, who has a three-year contract with the Red Knights, travelled to Brazil on December 19, just after Ahli's 4-0 President's Cup win over Al Wasl. He left the team without permission and informed the club of his departure through a text message to a member of the administration.
Talking to the media following Ahli's 2-0 win over Ajman, Grafite said Coelho, commonly known as Jaja, had discussed his personal issues with him and he was in a very disturbed state of mind.
"I know for some time that Jaja has been having some family problems with his wife and his son is also ill," Grafite said. "He told me he was really unhappy because the situation was getting intolerable.
"But I don't know if he has travelled to Brazil because of these issues or for some other reasons. I have tried to contact him in Brazil to find out, but I have not been successful. He has switched off his mobile.
"When I first heard the news, I thought it was a joke. This is really embarrassing for me because he is also Brazilian and we are friends as well."
Grafite said the Ahli management was aware of Coelho's domestic issues, and said Coelho's text message said he was leaving because of family problems. "But I do not agree with the way he left," Grafite said. "He should have done it in a proper way and asked for permission."
The Ahli management have since ruled out a return for Coelho and said he will be put on sale during the January transfer window. Grafite, however, hopes the club will consider his case a bit leniently should the playmaker decide to return.
"Jaja's psychological condition was obvious to all and his personal issues certainly had an impact on his performance on the pitch," Grafite said.
"That would happen to any player facing such issues, but different players react differently.
"Again, I completely disagree with what he did because his actions were not professional. He had told me he plans to go home for 10 days, which means he could be arriving back any time."
Grafite said his teammate should return to the UAE and apologise to the management and fans.
"This is not a good situation for him and he will have to suffer the consequences of his action, but I hope the club and the fans will be a bit lenient if he returns and accept him back into the team," Grafite said.
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