Al Ain appoint Romanian Cosmin Olaroiu as coach
After their worst season ever, Al Ain, the most decorated football club in the country, have not wasted any time on putting their house in order for the next season.
The nine-time league champions and 2003 winners of the Asian Champions League have signed Romanian Cosmin Olaroiu as their new coach on a two-year contract and are also looking for three new foreign players to replace Brahima Keita of Ivory Coast, the Brazilian Elias Ribeiro and the Romanian Valentin Badea.
"We started negotiations with Cosmin over a month ago and after several meetings, we have come to an agreement," said Mohammed Obaid Hamdoon, a member of the club's board of directors.
"We were looking for a strong coach who has the experience to achieve the club's aspirations in the new season. Cosmin s one of the best known coaches in the region and we felt he is the best man for us."
Olaroiu led Romanian club Steaua Bucuresti to the European Cup semi-finals and the European Champions League against Real Madrid, Dinamo Kiev and Olympique Lyon. He also led Al Hilal to the Saudi and the Crown Prince's Cup.
He replaces the Brazilian Alexandre Gallo who led Al Ain out of the relegation after taking charge from the Emirati Abdulhameed al Mishtiki in January.
Al Ain didn't have any foreigners signed until the last few days of the transfer deadline last year and Hamdoon said they were already short listed some names but left it for the coach to decide and also for him to make his own recommendations.
"We will not negotiate with any player, whether local or foreigner before discussing it with the new coach," he added. "The coach is the best person to decide what the team needs. We have a few names and will take the coach's advise and decide in the coming weeks than keep it late."
Al Ain finished five points above the relegated Kalba after inflicting the first defeat on Al Jazira, the league and President's Cup champions, in the penultimate round.