x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Marcos Paqueta commits to Al Shabab

Brazilian manager dismisses rumours he is moving to Qatari club Al Gharafa, reports John McAuley.

Marcos Paqueta's success as Al Shabab manager has attracted interest from Qatar. Razan Alzayani / The National
Marcos Paqueta's success as Al Shabab manager has attracted interest from Qatar. Razan Alzayani / The National

DUBAI // Marcos Paqueta has assured Al Shabab he will remain as manager despite reports linking him with a return to Qatar.

The Brazilian, one of only two coaches in the UAE top flight still employed by the same club they began last season with, is well respected at the Rashid bin Maktoum Stadium following a fine 2012/13 campaign.

Although his second stint at Shabab – he managed them for a season in 1988 – got off to an inauspicious start with five defeats in eight Pro League matches, Paqueta then guided his charges through 13 games unbeaten.

The run helped Shabab progress to the final of the President's Cup, while they were the only club from the Emirates to advance to the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.

Although Shabab eventually finished fifth in the domestic league, Paqueta's impact on the team has attracted interest from Al Gharafa, the Doha-based side with whom he achieved considerable success during a two-year spell from 2007. In his time in charge there, Paqueta led Gharafa to successive league titles.

The Qataris had reportedly offered an attractive financial package for Paqueta to again become their manager, however he informed Shabab he wants to stay in Dubai until the end of next season at least.

"We are aware of the reports, but Marcos spoke with the management and said he would work until his contract with the club is finished," said a Shabab official. "We're very happy with him."

Shabab increased preparations this week for the rebranded Arabian Gulf League, as they welcomed back their foreign players to pre-season training. Carlos Villanueva, the Chilean who spent the final four months of last season on loan at Universidad Catolica, replaces Luiz Henrique as the club's fourth expatriate.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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