Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
it was thought that Al Ahli would challenge for the 2013/14 Pro League title and silverware. But with Quique Sanchez Flores leaving, those thoughts may have walked out the door with him.
it was thought that Al Ahli would challenge for the 2013/14 Pro League title and silverware. But with Quique Sanchez Flores leaving, those thoughts may have walked out the door with him.

Pro League: Al Ahli's season already at high noon

After winning the league in 2009, the club blew through seven coaches. Quique Sanchez Flores, finally, brought stability and upward mobility. Stability just walked out the door.

Before noon Tuesday, the fashionable choice for 2014 Pro League champions were Al Ahli.

They had finished the 2012/13 season in a rush, won the President's Cup, have a crack corps of Emiratis, were bringing back Grafite and Luis Jimenez, and had added the Portuguese midfielder Hugo Viana.

Overseeing all of this: Quique Sanchez Flores, the dapper Spanish coach who had added 19 months of UAE experience to his CV, and had shaped this side to his liking. Ahli were looking formidable. Before noon Tuesday.

At a meeting with media, who fully expected word of the coach's new contract, Sanchez Flores instead announced his immediate departure, and walked out of the room, seeming to take 19 months of Ahli momentum with him.

The season remains nearly three months away, but Ahli will need much of that time recovering from the shock. After winning the league in 2009, the club blew through seven coaches: Ioan Andone, Mahdi Ali, Henk ten Cate, Nouraldine Al Obaidi, David O'Leary, Abdulhameed Al Mishtiki and Ivan Hasek. Sanchez Flores, finally, brought stability and upward mobility.

Stability just walked out the door.

Abdullah Al Naboodah, the club chairman, concedes finding a coach as good as Sanchez Flores will be difficult. The new man will face a crowded fixture list, including the Asian Champions League, and heightened expectations.

Before noon Tuesrday, it seemed doable.

Now? Given Ahli's failure rate with coaches, pre-Sanchez Flores, it looks a bit like mission impossible.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inpire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National