x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Al Ain release manager Jorge Fossati after 49 days in charge

Al Ain have sensationally parted company with Jorge Fossati only 49 days after appointing him as manager.

Jorge Fossati speaking ahead of last month's Super Cup in Abu Dhabi, which Al Ain lost on penalties to Al Ahli. Ravindranath K / The National
Jorge Fossati speaking ahead of last month's Super Cup in Abu Dhabi, which Al Ain lost on penalties to Al Ahli. Ravindranath K / The National

AL AIN // The champions start the Arabian Gulf League season in turmoil after parting ways with manager Jorge Fossati on the eve of their opening match.

Caretaker coach Ahmed Abdulah will take charge of their away trip to Al Shabab tonight.

Abel Braga, the former Al Jazira coach with whom Al Ain had been in talks before appointing the Uruguayan Fossati, is favourite to fill the vacant position.

The Brazilian turned down the offer citing an unwillingness to break his contract with Fluminense, but he is now out of a job after the Brazilian club sacked him a week after Fossati was appointed at Al Ain.

Mohammed Obaid Hammad, an Al Ain board member, said that the decision to terminate the services of Fossati came after detailed analysis from the club’s Professional Committee that deals with the technical side of the team.

“The committee had several meetings with the coach and spoke about a lot of details and they were not in agreement of some topics,” he said. “Based on these findings there have been clear instructions from the board, the board gave instructions to the committee to discuss the issues with the coach. We wanted to make sure the coach was going to reach the goals we had drawn up for the season.

“We hoped he would have continued with us but the reality is, in the recent period, things were not up to par with the ambitions that the team had for this season at both regional and continental level. Fossati has his own philosophy in dealing with style of play and the committee did not find it suitable with the Al Ain team.

“Along with some other things, these clashes of opinion have led to the end of our agreement with him on a mutual ground.”

Al Ain’s main grievance against Fossati is the refusal to change his style from his preferred 3-5-2 formation to the 4-4-2 structure the players have been used to in past seasons.

Braga was successful at Jazira in his three seasons that culminated in winning the league and President’s Cup double in 2011. Officials at the club remained tight-lipped when asked about Braga being the likely replacement.

Al Ain began their pre-season training under Abdullah after Cosmin Olaroiu, who led them to back-to-back league titles in 2012 and 2013, made a shock move to rival club Al Ahli.

apassela@thenational.ae

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SUNDAY’S PREVIEWS

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Al Shaab v Al Jazira

Luis Milla, the Al Jazira coach, played up the importance of a winning start to the season when they travel to Al Shaab today. “It is key for us to return with the three points,” the Spaniard said. “We have ironed out a few problem areas from the two League Cup games [last week] and are ready” Jazira, who beat Shaab 1-0 in the cup, will have Ali Kasheif, the goalkeeper, Ali Mabkhout, Khamis Ismail and the Moroccan Abdelaziz Barrada back from international national duty.

Ajman v Baniyas

Baniyas travel to Ajman for their league opener with their tails up after making a winning start to the season against Al Ain in the League Cup last week. “It is very hard to predict the outcome, but we are well prepared and with a lot of confidence to win the here points,” said Nawaf Mubarak, who scored twice and made an assist in their 3-1 win over Al Ain. Carlos Munoz, the Chile international, and Abdulsalam Al Muakhaini, the Omani defender, will make their debuts.

jmcauley@thenational.ae