x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

5 good and bad moves in UAE football history

We look at five decisions, good and bad, that the UAE football club managements have made in the past.


Winfried Schaefer, Al Ain

In 2009, the white-maned German, above, led the country's most decorated side to victories in all three domestic cups: President's, Etisalat and Super. But he was fired in December after only seven league matches. Al Ain were third in the league at the time.

Lufti al Benzarti, Baniyas

The taciturn Tunisian led Baniyas to promotion in 2009, then to a surprise fourth-place finish in 2010, the best in the history of the club. They were in second spot this season when he was dismissed last month. A 2-1 loss at lowly Kalba was the trigger for his firing.



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Abdul Qader, Ajman

The Iraqi had driven the little club from the northern Emirates to fourth at the halfway point of the 2008/09 season, but three consecutive defeats prompted impatient executives to show him the door. Ajman finished ninth and were relegated the following season.

Sergio Farias, Al Wasl

The Brazilian led the Pohang Steelers to the 2009 Asian Champions League title and a third-place finish in the Club World Cup. However, after Wasl were knocked out of the domestic cup competitions in the semi-finals, and fell to fourth in the league, he was cast adrift.

David O'Leary, Al Ahli

The Irishman signed a three-year contract with a club in chaos and repeatedly said he would need three years to turn the team around. He was fired after 15 matches, 51 short of three seasons.


Eid Baroot, Emirates

The unheralded Ras al Khaimah club were destined for relegation when they brought in the Emirati, above, in January 2009, and he masterminded upsets of Wahda and Shabab to bring President’s Cup success.

Josef Hickersberger, Al Wahda

The Austrian was brought in as the side were struggling in December 2008, and he led them to fourth with seven victories in their final 12 matches. In his first full season he guided Wahda to their fifth league title.

Jorvan Vieira, Kalba

The side from the east coast of the country had one point from eight matches when the Brazilian was appointed in December. They have 13 points from nine matches since. They may not avoid relegation, but at least they have a fighting chance.

Alexandre Gallo, Al Ain

The team were clearly flatlining – on 11 points from 11 matches – when Gallo took over. After a slow start, the Brazilian coaxed seven points from three league matches, and Al Ain have moved clear of trouble.

Abdulhameed al Mishtiki, Al Ain

The third coach at Al Ain in 2009/10 finished the season with a five-game winning streak to secure third place and a shot at qualification for the Asian Champions League. Despite reaching the group stage with a two-legged victory, things have not gone as well this season, but that does not erase his success last spring.