The former Al Shabab coach Toninho Cerezo was in talks with Al Ain last night to become their new manager a day after the Pro League club sacked Winfried Schaefer. Cerezo watched the first team players in training, which was led by the Moroccan caretaker coach Rasheed Mahmod, yesterday and is expected to be in charge for Sunday's game against Al Wasl at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium.
The Brazilian's appointment was not confirmed, but Marcelo, Cerezo's assistant at Shabab, said the coach was headed to Al Ain. "He was meeting the club management to discuss his terms of the contract," he said. Cerezo led Shabab to the league title in 2007, but could not replicate that success. He was the first Pro League coach to be fired this season after the 4-1 defeat to Al Wahda on October 23.
Ironically, Schaefer's fate as Al Ain manager was also sealed by a loss to Wahda. The 1-0 loss to the Abu Dhabi side last Tuesday followed defeat in a shoot-out during a President's Cup tie with Ajman. Al Ain remain third in the league, five points behind the leaders Al Jazira. They also top Group B in the Etisalat Cup having won both their games in that competition. Schaefer took charge of Al Ain in the middle of the 2006-2007 season.
He led them triumphs in the Etisalat and President's Cup last season and finished third in the Pro League to earn qualification for next year's Asian Champions League. His side also won the season-opening Super Cup. Despite that record, the German coach became the fourth Pro League manager to be sacked this season. There are two Pro League games tonight Ajman will host Al Ahli (KO 4.45pm) and Shabab are at home to Sharjah (KO 8pm)