Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Bruno Metsu cuts a serene figure. Karim Jaafar / AFP
Bruno Metsu cuts a serene figure. Karim Jaafar / AFP

A quiet intensity at Zabeel Stadium

Bruno Metsu may cut a more serene figure than Diego Maradona, his perennially agitated predecessor, but the players will realise, in terms of getting in shape for an elongated Pro League season, some stormy weather lies ahead.

And so it begins; after the storm comes the calm. Bruno Metsu arrived in Dubai on Monday to begin his two-year contract at Al Wasl, yet there was no lavish press conference in a luxury hotel on Palm Jumeirah, no screaming fans gatecrashing the ballroom to chant from the balcony at a football icon.

The Diego Maradona adventure adventure is officially over; the clamour that submerged the club for 14 madcap months has come to an end.

You get the impression Wasl, the new board eager to close the most intriguing chapter in the club's storied history, would not want it any other way.

Metsu introduced himself to his assembled squad on Tuesday night under the floodlights of the Zabeel Stadium, players gathered on a stifling evening to sneak any possible insight into how their new coach will operate.

Ramadan dictates training runs past the witching hour, and Metsu, pacing the centre circle throughout, had prepared the most ghoulish of sessions.

A heavy set of passing drills was quickly followed by a series of short matches involving three nine-a-side teams, with Mariano Donda, the club's last remaining Argentine, influential throughout.

Tricks and flicks were the order of the day from players in brightly coloured boots, each determined to stand out. There is a new mentor to impress, remember.

Metsu, appearing relaxed in black tracksuit trousers and a white short-sleeved T-shirt, coaxed and cajoled, before returning to his stroll, arms resting behind his back, whistle, hardly used, in hand.

He could easily have been back ambling along the Nice promenade, where in the early 80s he enjoyed two seasons with the French club as a player.

An incisive pass or a piece of skill, to which he portrayed his approval with a loud clap on his chest, would sometimes startle Metsu. Otherwise, this was a man carefully surveying his resources.

It was left to one of Metsu's assistants, who is also new to the club, to demand more from the players as they concluded with running and stretching a particularly rigorous first training session.

Wasl, because of what has gone before this summer regarding Maradona, are far behind their rivals in terms of fitness and preparation, something Metsu obviously recognises.

The Frenchman may cut a more serene figure than his perennially agitated predecessor, but the players will realise, in terms of getting in shape for an elongated Pro League season, some stormy weather lies ahead, after all.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A still from the 27-second black-and-white video that was taken using a satellite owned and operated by Skybox Imaging.

Burj Khalifa stars in HD video from space

A 27-second black and white video of a plane flying over Dubai's skyscrapers captures the imagination of some.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 JP Duminy played a cameo knock of 52 not out from 35 balls to tip the game in Delhi Daredevils' favour. Pawan Singh / The National

Kolkata Knight Riders lose way as Duminy sizzles for Delhi Daredevils

JP Duminy keeps his head as cameo at the death helps swing it in Delhi's favour in Dubai after captain Karthik plays the anchor role.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 The mother removes the noose with the help of her husband from around the neck of Balal.

In pictures: Mother forgives her son’s killer as he awaited his execution

An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National