x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Abdullah Misfir to leave Al Dhafra at the end of season

Abu Dhabi club were keen to retain the only Emirati coach in the Arabian Gulf League for another season, but the former national team manager has “apologised” for his inability to continue. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

Abdullah Misfir is the only Emirati coach in the Arabian Gulf League. Mike Young / The National
Abdullah Misfir is the only Emirati coach in the Arabian Gulf League. Mike Young / The National

Al Dhafra have confirmed they will be looking for a new coach next season as Abdullah Misfir has decided against continuing with the team.

Misfir, the only Emirati coach in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), has enjoyed a successful season with Dhafra, taking the team to the last-four of both the League Cup and the President’s Cup. They have been punching above their weight in the AGL as well and are currently eighth in the standings.

Given his success with the team, Dhafra were keen to retain Misfir for another season, but the former national team manager has “apologised” for his inability to continue, due to “special circumstances”, according to the deputy chairman of the club, Khamis Al Mansoori.

“We had made a formal offer to the coach as we wanted him to continue with the team for next season,” Al Mansoori said. “But unfortunately we have received a letter from Misfir saying he will be unable to continue with us.

“To support stability and build on the good results we have achieved this season, we started negotiating with Misfir before the end of his contract and made him an offer, but now the match against Al Ahli in the final round of the league will be his final game as coach of the team.”

Last month, Misfir revealed he had received a few offers for next season, including a couple from “European clubs”, without revealing names. On Sunday, Al Shaab, who are headed back to Division 1, added their name to that list.

“We will begin our negotiations with Misfir in the coming days because we believe an Emirati or Arabic coach is our best option for next season as Shaab try to make their way back to the Arabian Gulf League,” Sarhan Al Mayani, chairman of Shaab’s technical committee, said.

Misfir, meanwhile, has expressed his satisfaction with what he has achieved with Dhafra this season.

“We got good results in all the competitions we participated and we have built a team that features players at a very high level,” he said. “There is a good blend of experience and youth, and we have replacements who are at the same level as the starting members of the team. So we have created a strong nucleus and the team should continue doing well next season.

“As a coaching team, I am very pleased because we have been successful at two levels: in getting good results and providing quality players to the pipeline. We managed 16 points in the first half of the league and we have 17 points from the second half, despite the difficult circumstances we have been through.

“We have missed our foreign players at times, but we used that as an opportunity to give our Emirati players a chance to prove themselves, and they have shown they have the ability to perform at a distinct level.”

arizvi@thenational.ae

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