x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Baiano's future with Al Wahda in doubt

Joseph Hickersberger and Al Wahda may have reached the end of their tether with Fernando Baiano, the Brazilian striker.

Fernando Baiano remains in police custody after the accident on Sheikh Zayed Bridge between his Lamborghini, Salem Masoud of Al Jazira in a BMW X6 and a taxi.
Fernando Baiano remains in police custody after the accident on Sheikh Zayed Bridge between his Lamborghini, Salem Masoud of Al Jazira in a BMW X6 and a taxi.

ABU DHABI // Josef Hickersberger, the Al Wahda manager, has put Fernando Baiano's future in doubt by hinting that he will look for a replacement for the forward in the January transfer window.

The club are working on getting the Brazilian striker out of police custody following a car accident.

"I have been a professional player and a coach since 1966, and this is the first time I have experienced such an incident," Hickersberger said. "I can't talk anything more on him, but all I can say for now is that he is not available for the next game."

Khaled Awadh, Wahda's assistant chief executive officer, would not confirm where Baiano, 31, is being held.

The Brazilian will miss Wahda's game with Al Ahli in Dubai on Sunday.

Earlier in the week, Hickersberger has said Baiano would not be fit enough to play a full match against Ahli.

When asked if he was planning to replace Baiano during January's transfer window, the Austrian replied: "I have no comment."

Pressed for an answer as to whether he had any plans to use the transfer period to strengthen his squad, he replied: "Yes, it was clear from the beginning [of the season] but I can't discuss it with the media."

Hickersberger made it obvious he is not happy with the standard of the Wahda squad.

"From the onset I made up my mind where we stand from the rest of the Pro League clubs. We have had fitness issues on some of the players - I can only play those who are available and try to make the best use of what I have.

"Obviously, we want to win the league, but if we can't, we will try to finish in the best position we can.

"So far we won the Super Cup, which I didn't expect, with the players we had for that game. That success only goes to prove we still have a decent side."

Baiano was in an accident with Salem Masoud, the young Al Jazira defender, and both were taken to hospital, a Jazira spokesman confirmed.

The Brazilian, who was driving a Lamborghini, and Masoud, who was in a BMW X6, collided on Sheikh Zayed Bridge heading into Abu Dhabi. A taxi was also involved in the accident.

The striker has been in custody since Tuesday, though Masoud is back with his club.

"Baiano's issue has nothing to do with the club," Hickersberger said. "It is a personal problem and it is his responsibility. He should know the rules as a professional player and the rules of the country.

The former Al Jazira forward is one of the Wahda players who has struggled to reach peak fitness so far this season.

He has yet to play 90 minutes in five Pro League games. He got his first start against Dubai and scored the only goal for his team before being substituted on the hour in the 1-1 draw last week.

apassela@thenational.ae

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