x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Wasl appoint Jorginho, Brazil World Cup 1994 winner, as 2014/15 manager

Al Wasl have hired Jorginho, the Brazilian World Cup winner in 1994, as Hector Cuper's successor, The National's John McAuley has learned.

Brazilian  coach Jorginho is on his way to Al Wasl. AFP / 2013
Brazilian coach Jorginho is on his way to Al Wasl. AFP / 2013

DUBAI // Al Wasl have chosen Jorginho, a former Brazil defender, to be their manager next season.

The 1994 World Cup winner, 49, finalised a one-year deal with the Zabeel Stadium club in Dubai on Wednesday, and will begin his new role from June.

Jorginho replaces Hector Cuper, the Argentine, who was dismissed last month after only four months in charge. Under Cuper, Wasl lost 10 of 16 matches.

The club declared to be the UAE’s “team of the 20th century” by Fifa sits 12th in the 14-club Arabian Gulf League but remains at risk of relegation; they are seven points clear of the drop zone with three matches to play.

Saleem Abdelrahman, the Emirati, had been placed in temporary control until the conclusion of the current campaign.

Wasl officials had indicated a preference for a Brazilian coach, and a man who played every match for Brazil in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups is thought to be the ideal candidate to lift Wasl from their current malaise.

“I am very happy with this challenge, in a new league for me,” he said. “I’ve never worked in the Arab world and my goal is to match the confidence of the Al Wasl management.

“The structure of club pleased me very much and I hope to be able to guide the team to have a good campaign next season. I will return to Brazil to arrange my move and just start our planning.”

Jorginho has managed several clubs in Brazil, chief among them Flamengo. He last held a coaching position at Ponte Preta, where he stayed for five months before leaving in December. During his time there, he led the Sao Paulo side to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the second-most-prestigious club competition in South America, which Ponte Preta lost to Lanus.

Jorginho, who as a player represented with distinction Flamengo, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, has experience of working outside his homeland. In 2012, he spent a year in charge of Kashima Antlers, the top-flight Japan side.

He also worked as an assistant to Dunga with the Brazilian national team from 2006 to 2010, a period that included the most recent World Cup, in South Africa.

Jorginho’s appointment confirms the new Wasl board, installed in January, have already shifted focus to next season, where they will hope the seven-time UAE champions improve on a fallow few seasons. The club’s highest finish in the professional era is fifth, in 2011. They last won silverware in 2007, when they clinched a league and President’s Cup double. Since then, Wasl have had 12 managers, excluding Abdelrahman.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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