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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Al Jazira, languishing in AGL relegation fight, part company with Abel Braga

With the team 11th in the Arabian Gulf League campaign and on a run of five winless league matches, Al Jazira have sacked Brazilian manager Abel Braga.
Al Jazira manager Abel Braga was sacked on Saturday. Delores Johnson / The National
Al Jazira manager Abel Braga was sacked on Saturday. Delores Johnson / The National

Al Jazira have parted company with Abel Braga as coach after the club’s stuttering start to the season.

The Brazilian, who in 2011 led the club to their only UAE championship crown, was appointed this summer for a second time, but has guided the Abu Dhabi side to only three victories from 16 matches.

At present, they sit 11th in the Arabian Gulf League, while they had not won in five Arabian Gulf Cup fixtures.

Thursday’s 4-0 league defeat at Fujairah proved the final straw for the Jazira board, with Braga informing the players at training on Saturday evening.

The club tweeted confirmation on Saturday night.

“Al Jazira Football Company & the Brazilian coach Abel Braga has agreed to terminate their contract by mutual consent,” it read.

Braga succeeded Belgian Eric Gerets in June, and it was hoped he could at least emulate his previous stint in the capital from 2008. In three years with Braga at the helm, Jazira won the 2010 League Cup, before clinching the league title and the President’s Cup a season later – the first time they had won either trophy.

Braga was expected to help Jazira challenge for the league this season, especially since they had invested heavily in the squad after last year’s runners-up finish. However, Mirko Vucinic and Jefferson Farfan recently sustained long-term injuries, while Thiago Neves and Park Jong-woo have failed to spark.

Jazira’s Achilles heel throughout the 2014/15 campaign was their defence, which conceded 46 goals, the worst tally outside of the division’s two relegated clubs. This year has not been much better, with the club conceding 38 times in 16 matches.​

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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