x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Another Pro League coach bites the dust

Gabriel Calderon becomes the 60th managerial change in the UAE domestic football league in four seasons after his contract is not renewed by Baniyas.

Gabriel Calderon
Gabriel Calderon

Gabriel Calderon will not return to Baniyas next season despite leading them to the President's Cup final, the club said. Officials said the coach's deteriorating relationship with the players was the reason his contract was not renewed.

Dealings between the 52-year-old Argentine and the players had turned unpleasant during the last stages of the Pro League season, even though the club also reached the last 16 of the Asian Champions League (ACL). The club also fired their chief executive, Nidal Abo Roza, earlier this year.

"After the technical committee's evaluation we have decided not to renew the contract of Calderon," Saif Khaili, the vice-chairman of the club's board of directors, said.

"We thank Calderon for his good work he has done but decided not to continue as his relationship with some of the senior players deteriorated towards the end of the season."

Khaili said the coach had dropped Ahmed Ali from the line up in the 7-1 loss to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the ACL last 16 tie, and said the team did not play to their full potential in the 2-2 draw against Sharjah in the final round of the Pro League on Sunday.

"It was pretty much evident the relationship between the technical staff and the players had really reached a point that cannot be improved. And in such situations it isn't in the best interest of the team to carry on with the same coach," Khaili said.

Baniyas went down to Al Jazira 3-1 in the President's Cup final. In the Pro League, they finished on 24 points and ninth place in the 12-team league.

Calderon said earlier this season that the club focused on success in President's Cup and the ACL when it became clear they could not contend for the Pro League title.

"We decided to fully focus on the President's Cup and the ACL when we thought we had no chance in finishing in the top three or four in the league," he said. "It seems to have worked."

Calderon previously coached the national teams in Saudi Arabia and Oman, and the club teams Al Ittihad and Al Hilal in the Saudi Premier League. He won the league title with Ittihad in 2009 and Hilal in 2011.

He took charge at Baniyas in November from Salem Al Orafi, the caretaker coach for a month after the Abu Dhabi club dismissed Jorvan Vieira, the Brazilian who took charge from last summer on a two-year contract.

Vieira was on the job for only four months and his contract was terminated after a run of seven league and Etisalat Cup matches in October. The exit of Calderon is the 60th managerial change in the league in the space of four seasons.

apassela@thenational.ae

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