x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Wasl cast net wide in search for coach to succeed Banide

Al Wasl want a young, up-and-coming coach to succeed the dismissed Laurent Banide.

Al Wasl hope to find a fresh-faced, promising coach to lead their young squad. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad
Al Wasl hope to find a fresh-faced, promising coach to lead their young squad. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad

DUBAI // Al Wasl intend to appoint a rising, emergent coach as Laurent Banide’s successor, with the Dubai club expecting to have a replacement installed within the next week.

Banide was dismissed as manager on Sunday, less than five months into his two-year contract, after the weekend defeat to Al Shabab, who finished the match with 10 men, meant Wasl had taken nine points from a possible 24 across this season’s Arabian Gulf League and League Cup.

Saleem Abdel Rahman has been placed temporarily in charge and will be in the dugout for Friday’s match at Ajman.

Wasl have begun the process of finding a permanent solution, though, and say numerous coaches interested in the role have already approached them. At present, the club have focused their coaching search on Brazil and Argentina.

One of the primary objectives is to choose a developing coach seeking to enhance his reputation, especially given the make-up of the current Wasl squad, which is among the youngest in the UAE top flight.

The new hire will be the club’s seventh coach in 15 months.

“It’s very important for us to bring someone who wants to stay for the long-term,” said Sultan Hareb, a Wasl board member. “Someone who’s not simply interested in money and a good life for himself.

“This is why we’re looking for a young coach who wants to achieve something. It will be a coach who can be close to the young players and can develop them tactically and technically, because the techniques implemented by Banide did not help the club succeed.

“We’re trying to find some good, young, successful names. But we’ve received a lot of calls from international coaches, too, some of them big names.”

Hareb confirmed that Wasl had decided to release Banide because of what they perceived to be the Frenchman’s tactical naivety. The club had grown frustrated with the side’s poor second-half performances this season – they conceded soon after the half-time break in five of their opening six matches – and blamed Banide’s decision-making during matches for the poor performances.

In turn, Banide criticised his players for a lack of fighting spirit.

Hareb said: “We thought it was a fitness issue, but we have the statistics relating to that and there was nothing in it. It’s how the coach was managing the team.

“Most of it was actually when changing players. The majority of mistakes happened then and we felt all the changes Banide made in matches weren’t for the benefit of the team.”

Wasl hope to make an announcement regarding the new manager before their league encounter against Al Dhafra on October 31, although they ruled out the possibility of Toninho Cerezo joining the club.

The Brazilian, who led Al Shabab to the league title in 2008 and is currently in charge of Japanese club Kashima Antlers, had been rumoured to be Wasl’s No 1 target.

“We looked at Cerezo, but he has been dropped from our list because of the demands he was asking,” Hareb said.

“They are too high. It’s more expensive than at a club in a top European championship.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae