x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Al Wasl have South American lined up to succeed Banide

Announcement expected to come next week

Al Wasl celebrate during an Arabian Gulf League match against Al Dhafra at Al Wasl Stadium. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad
Al Wasl celebrate during an Arabian Gulf League match against Al Dhafra at Al Wasl Stadium. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad

DUBAI // Al Wasl have agreed a deal for a successor to Laurent Banide, which they expect to announce next week.

The Dubai club, who released Banide last month following a run of results that yielded nine points from as many matches, had identified two candidates for the role — one a rising coach from Europe and another with a considerable CV, hailing from South America.

They have opted for the latter, on a two-year contract, and could have him in place for Wasl’s League Cup clash at Ajman on November 13.

“The negotiations are done; the coach just has to sign the contract when he arrives in Dubai,” said Sultan Hareb, a member of the Wasl board. “We believe he’s one of the top coaches in the industry. He’s managed some big clubs in Europe, particularly in Spain and Italy, and with success. He’s very well-known.”

Wasl have tasked the incoming coach with getting the best from the resources already at his disposal. They plan to only slightly augment the squad when the transfer window reopens in January.

They may seek to add two Emiratis, at most, to the team; their foreign ensemble of Mariano Donda, Milan Susak, Andre Senghor and Abdelfattah Boukhriss will remain. Kaio, the Brazilian striker purchased this summer, is recovering from injury and should soon be available again for selection.

The emphasis will therefore be on the new coach improving the side both technically and tactically — Wasl are fifth in the Arabian Gulf League — while he will have a significant input in youth-team development. The objective is to promote players from within the club to the first team.

Saleem Abdelrahman, the caretaker coach and assistant to Banide, will again act as a No 2, although Wasl envisage him to have a more prominent role than before.

“Saleem has done an excellent job in instilling a strong team spirit, and he will help the coach understand the players better and more quickly,” Hareb said. “Our goal is to be comfortable in the league, to improve in the next few games and then we’ll be in a much better position after January.

“But what is more important is that the coach has enough time to understand the players and to take care of them. We’re not planning to win any trophies this year, but what we have set out to do is to build the team.

“We have the team; we just need to improve it, to make it stronger. From now, we expect the foreign players to have more influence on our attacking play and in the next matches we’ll see a big improvement from them. That’s a promise from the new coach and the players.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae