x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Al Ain could offer Sanchez Flores swift return to UAE

Club are in talks with several candidates, Al Jazira board to keep faith with coach Luis Milla, Dubai secure Syrian international Jehad Al Hussain's release and Al Wahda want Al Ahli to forfeit three points won against them after fielding ineligible player.

Quique Sanchez Flores left his position as coach of Al Ahli in June. Jaime Puebla / The National
Quique Sanchez Flores left his position as coach of Al Ahli in June. Jaime Puebla / The National

Al Ain are in no hurry to appoint a new coach until after their next league game against Al Dhafra on Friday.

Ahmed Abdullah, the interim coach, will oversee their preparation after the Emirati got them off the mark in his second game in charge with a 2-1 home win over Ajman last week.

“The club is in talks with several candidates for the vacant coaching position, but nothing will be finalised until after the next game,” a club official said yesterday.

“We want the players to just focus on the upcoming match. The league takes a break after this game and that’s the time the club management would take the new coaching appointment forward.”

Quique Sanchez Flores, the Spaniard who led Al Ahli to the President’s Cup and a second-place finish in the league last season, is thought to be one of the leading candidates.

The club also have been in talks with Eric Gerets, the experienced Belgian who has managed PSV Eindhoven, Galatasaray and Marseille.

Meanwhile, Luis Milla, the Al Jazira coach, has been given a vote of confidence by the Abu Dhabi club after their second defeat in four games, both in the Arabian Gulf League and the League Cup.

“There will be no change. We have full faith in him that he would deliver for us this season,” Mohammed Al Hameli, a member of the club’s board of directors, said.

Jazira were reduced to nine men as they went down 3-2 to Al Wasl at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday night, with both Shin Yung-min and Nelson Valdez drawing red cards.

Both will be suspended for Jazira’s trip to Al Shabab on Thursday, but Milla expects his side to cope.

“We will not face any problem in forming a strong line-up for the next match, because we have good players in the squad to fill up the vacant positions in the line-up,” said the Spaniard. “What is important for me is the team and not the names. If we can play at the same level as we played against Wasl, we can return with three points against Shabab.”

Dubai, meanwhile, have confirmed Syrian international Jehad Al Hussain as their Asian player.

The Al Awir club had initially signed the attacking midfielder, 31, during the summer, but the deal ran into trouble after his former employers, Saudi club Najran, demanded that Dubai pay the US$900,000 (Dh3.3 million) penalty clause for the player’s release.

But an agreement has now been reached.

“It’s all sorted,” a club spokesman said.

Dubai have also made another change, replacing Brazilian striker Andre Alves with Malian striker Dramane Traore, who scored on his debut in the 3-2 win at Emirates on Friday. Alves appeared in two League Cup and a league match for Dubai, but failed to impress coach Martin Rueda.

Al Wahda have lodged a protest against Al Ahli for playing an ineligible player in their 2-1 defeat on Friday. Adnan Hussain, who was serving a suspension in the reserve team league, came on as a second-half substitute and Wahda want the three points forfeited from Ahli and given to them instead.