Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Faouzi Benzarti, coach of Sharjah.
Faouzi Benzarti, coach of Sharjah.

Play-offs do not add up

For any club to escape these play-offs positively tonight they will need concentration, courage and commitment. Oh, and a calculator.

For any club to escape these play-offs positively tonight they will need concentration, courage and commitment. Oh, and a calculator.

Such have been the results of the opening two rounds of this unfathomable four-team tournament that Al Dhafra, Al Shaab, Sharjah and Emirates each enter the final fixtures dreaming of a life in the Pro League.

Ambition, though, was preceded by confusion.

After Sunday's matches, UAE Football Association officials confirmed Dhafra promoted and consigned Emirates to Division One.

The Western Region club emerged 5-1 victors from the clash with their Ras Al Khaimah counterparts (suggesting there should perhaps be more than one tier separating the two when the season kicks off in 10 days' time) and, when attached to their opening-day triumph against Sharjah, it seemed Dzemal Hadziabdic's nascent side had reached the big time.

The Bosnian, whose 20 years in management hint he is no fool, was found in the bowels of the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium considering an impending Pro League campaign. An aggressive recruitment policy - Dhafra signed 17 players during the summer - had been justified.

Whereas Lutfi Benzarti, the Emirates coach, could not even face the media post-match, so incensed was the Tunisian by his side slipping into obscurity.

Yet it appears he has been thrown a lifeline (or that one actually existed all along), much to the disbelief of his little brother, Faouzi, the Sharjah coach who anticipated a straight shoot-out with Shaab.

Tonight, managers need to be mathematicians as much as mentors.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Supporters of unseen India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, wave as he arrives to file his election nomination papers in Varanasi. Sanjay Kanojia / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world April 24

The National View's photo editors pick the best of the day from around the world

 Sarah Geronimo. Courtesy: FLASH Entertainment

Sarah Geronimo brings her star power to Abu Dhabi this weekend

Ahead of her Abu Dhabi concert on Thursday night, we take a look at the Filipina singer Sarah Geronimo’s extraordinary career.

 Visitors look at the medieval inventor Al Jazari’s water-powered Elephant Clock. The clock is on show at the 1001 Inventions exhibition at Sharjah Expo Centre. Photos Antonie Robertson / The National

1001 Inventions: in praise of Islam’s gifts to the world

Down the centuries, from camera obscura to designing a sail that allowed early seafarers to tack into the wind, Muslim scientists have made many significant contributions to science. Rym Ghazal and Asmaa Al Hameli visit an exhibition in Sharjah that celebrates those contributions

 Mumbai Indians fans cheer they team on the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Earn cash back with the IPL cricket in the UAE

Dunia finance promotion allows cricket lovers to earn up to 6 per cent unlimited cash back on any spending they make on a day when an IPL match is played in the UAE.

 Iranian workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant in Tehran on March 18. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

Iran’s love of cars survives devastating sanctions

Sanctions and energy subsidy reductions might have hurt the Iranian automotive industry. But car makers at one factory are still optimistic, Yeganeh Salehi reports from Tehran

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

Disney confirms that Star Wars: Episode 7 is filming in Abu Dhabi desert

Disney yesterday confirmed that the filming of Star Wars: Episode 7 is taking place in the desert in Abu Dhabi.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National