x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Al Shabab get their 'gentleman' Marcos Paqueta

The Brazilian was the first choice to replace Paulo Bonamigo at the Dubai club.

Marcos Paquetais set to join Al Shabab.
Marcos Paquetais set to join Al Shabab.

DUBAI // The executive director of Al Shabab said they took just two hours to finalise a two-year contract with Marcos Paqueta for him to return as their coach for a second term.

The Brazilian was the club's first choice to replace Paulo Bonamigo, who last month announced his decision to leave just days after signing a contract extension. He is expected to join Al Jazira.

"When Bonamigo cancelled his contract, within two hours we reached an agreement with Mr Paqueta and we thank him for this because he was a gentleman in his dealing with us," said Saeed Al Marri, the executive director of Al Shabab.

According to Al Marri, Al Shabab were concerned that Bonamigo had not responded on the offer of a new contract and held preliminary talks with Paqueta when the Libya national team he coached trained at Shabab three months ago.

"We were in contact with Paqueta before Mr Bonamigo's renewal," Al Marri said. "At that time, Mr Bonamigo was stalling on the renewal. So we had to have a Plan B and we contacted Mr Paqueta and some other coaches. Mr Paqueta was very close to us. He knows Al Shabab, he knows our mentality, he knows our people here. So it was very easy."

Paqueta, 53, coached Shabab for two years, in 1988 and 1989, arriving as a novice for his first international assignment after just a year's previous experience with America, the Brazilian club.

"My first experience is here at this club and I think I made too many mistakes," Paqueta said. "I learnt from those mistakes and, as I return, I think I have a lot more experience and good results."

Paqueta enjoyed success after leaving Shabab, winning five titles in one season with Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia, enjoying a productive spell in Qatar and winning the 2003 Youth World Cup and the Under 17 World Cup with Brazil.

He then moved into international management, coaching the national teams of Saudi Arabia and Libya. He described the latter as "the biggest challenge" of his coaching career.

"I think we did a good job there," Paqueta said referring to qualification for this year's African Cup of Nations. "The players loved our work and that for me is amazing.

"I had many problems with the [Libyan football] administration. They changed everything. There was no continuity and that made it very difficult for the project I had. But I am very happy because they just beat Cameroon" on Sunday in a 2014 World Cup qualifier "which is for the first time, I believe.

"I did a good job there. They have some good young players there and I hope they qualify for the World Cup. That was my dream, but now I have to focus on Shabab."

Al Marri hopes Paqueta can "achieve goals set to us by the Dubai government and Al Shabab's board of directors". Pacqueta inherits a team who finished third in the league last season, though he will plan without Mohammed Ahmed, the Olympic-team defender who has joined Al Ain.

"I know everything about the team, but I need to study more," Paqueta said. "I know the main players, the first 11 or 13 players, but I want to know all the players because I know Shabab have some good young players and they will get their chances.

"I have my own ideas and I have discussed this with the club management. I know Shabab have the same goal as me, to prepare young players. For me, this is very important because I like working with young players.

"I have come here to win. If you see my CV, you can form some idea."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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