x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Al Wasl appoint temporary replacement for Bruno Metsu amid health fears

Assistant coach Gilles Morisseau takes temporary charge of first team duties at the Zabeel Stadium after the former UAE national coach was taken to hospital.

Al Wasl coach Bruno Metsu.
Al Wasl coach Bruno Metsu.

DUBAI // Club officials at Al Wasl say doctors are still working to pinpoint the exact nature of the illness which has forced Bruno Metsu to temporarily halt his duties as manager.

Metsu, who took over from Diego Maradona as manager of the club this summer, missed the fixture against Al Jazira on Monday as he continued medical examinations at the American Hospital Dubai.

The 58 year old coach, who had been suffering from abdominal pain, is not under 24 hour hospital supervision but has been told to stay away from his daily duties.  He has spent one full night at hospital, but has been able to spend most of this week at his home in Dubai.

The Frenchman’s assistant coaches Gilles Morisseau and Nasser Khamis have been placed in charge of first team affairs until further notice.

Despite his absence from the Zabeel Stadium, the stricken manager has still been able to regularly convey instructions to his team, according to Morisseau, Metsu’s deputy.

"The coach is resting now, because he has been told to at this current time," said the caretaker coach, who will be at the helm for this weekend’s trip to Ajman.

"We definitely hope he comes back soon. Although he is away from the team, he is in close contact with the coaching staff.

"The club have requested privacy for their absent manager, as they await a conclusive diagnosis of his condition.

"It hasn’t been accurately pinpointed and the final outcome has not been reached,” said Tariq Al Sharabi, a spokesman for Al Wasl.

"The coach is tired and he is not in a position, as per doctors’ advice, to go about his day to day work normally.

"He cannot come to training sessions, he cannot sit on the bench and he has been asked to come to hospital at various times this week.

"The only thing we can say now is that there are tests being done thoroughly to pinpoint the cause. Even if the cause was found, this is a private matter.

"This is private and we ask the media and fans to respect that privacy and not to speculate.

"It does not help to spread rumours which might have a bad effect on the coach’s family, the coach himself, on the players and on the fans."

Metsu is a highly popular figure in the region - and in the UAE in particular, having guided the national team to the Gulf Cup of Nations title on home soil in 2007.

He was also in charge at Al Ain when the club became the first and so far only UAE club to with the Asian Champions League in 2003.

Wasl have invested great hope in him restoring the club’s position among the country’s elite following the aborted reign of Maradona.

His deputy hopes the illness-enforced absence will not have a detrimental effect on the good work they have done so far this season, and hopes to have him back on the sidelines as soon as possible.

"There is daily contact between us," Morisseau said. "We really hope this won’t effect the team.

"I hope they can give the same level of performance they have since the start of the league.

"It is not my place to talk about his condition, we just hope he gets better and better every day."

pradley@thenational.ae

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