x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Abel Braga to leave Al Jazira

After leading the Abu Dhabi club to their first double this season, the coach announced he wants to return to native Brazil to be with his family.

Abel Braga was hugely successful at Al Jazira.
Abel Braga was hugely successful at Al Jazira.

ABU DHABI // Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, sprung a shock for the Pro League champions last night by announcing he was parting company with the Abu Dhabi club to return to be with his family in Brazil.

The South American, who earlier this week guided the club to their first ever top-flight championship, said the players were emotional when told of his decision to end his three-year stay in the capital.

"It was a difficult day for me when I had to tell my players after the game that I will be leaving for good," he said after Jazira extended their record unbeaten run in the top flight to 27 matches after a 5-2 hammering of relegation threatened Kalba at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

"I am leaving because my family needs me. I have a 12-year-old son and I need to be with him at this crucial period of time. I had given a lot of thought before I arrived on this decision. The players were very emotional when I told them but I had to break this news sooner or later.

"I have had a very enjoyable and successful time with Jazira and I am proud of their achievement. The club has now won both the league and the President's Cup, the highest two awards in the country, and I am really proud to be a part of it."

"I thank all those who supported me during my time at Jazira. The management, the players, the staff and all those fans who stood behind me. I thank them from the very bottom of my heart.

"If I ever decide to return to this part of the world, it will always be Jazira for me. I am proud to say that I am leaving a champion team."

Braga, 58, said he will return to his homeland to take up the head coach's position at Fluminense.

"At Fluminense, I can be close to my family," he said. "It was a job that opened up and suits me well."

Braga will, however, see through his contract until the final match on June 5 against Dubai.

Braga's side dazzled against Kalba and the Brazilian insisted the first half of that game highlighted Jazira's dominance of the domestic scene.

"What we saw in the first half was what Jazira is made of," he added. "They didn't play as good as they were in the second half but we don't expect them to because they have now nothing to prove."

Matias Delgado triggered the celebrations by giving the league leaders a spectacular fifth-minute lead. The Argentine midfielder collected a pass from Subait Khater, worked his way inside the area and delicately chipped the ball over the charging goalkeeper Mohammed Osman before tapping the ball home into an empty net.

The former Besiktas man was on target again on 27 minutes with an equally spectacular goal after leaving several Kalba defenders trailing in his wake to make it 4-0 after Juma Abdulla and Bare had also got their names on the scoresheet.

Elias Oliveira pulled one back for the visitors on 23 minutes but Ricardo Oliveira, the Brazilian striker, netted Jazira's fifth to restore their four-goal advantage. Simon Feindouno grabbed the seventh goal of a highly-entertaining half five minutes before the break for Kalba, who remain second from bottom.