x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Baroot is looking to the future

Winning the President's Cup as coach of Emirate has done the UAE proud and earned the Emirati the task of developing homegrown talent.

It was a rare moment of emotional expression for Eid Baroot, the Emirate coach, when his team unexpectedly won the President's Cup in April by shocking Al Shabab at the Zayed Sports City Stadium.
It was a rare moment of emotional expression for Eid Baroot, the Emirate coach, when his team unexpectedly won the President's Cup in April by shocking Al Shabab at the Zayed Sports City Stadium.

Eid Baroot has cried in public on only two occasions. The first was when his father, Ismail, died six years ago. The second was after leading Emirate to their first President's Cup in 41 years in April. "Those are the two times I got really emotional, I broke down and just couldn't hold back my tears," said Baroot, who became the first Emirati coach in the modern era to lead a club side to one of the UAE's two major domestic titles.

The victory also earned the Ras al Khaimah side a place in next year's Asian Champions League (ACL). They will be the first second-tier club to play in the continental competition, after being relegated from the Pro League to the first division. "We were in a difficult situation in second last in the league table when I took charge in mid-January," Baroot said. "The best option we had at that time was to concentrate on the President's Cup."

Baroot's team shocked Al Shabab 2-1 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on April 19. "I re-live those ecstatic scenes," Baroot said. "There were more than 25,000 fans who travelled all the way from Ras al Khaimah and they were all behind us. And when the final whistle went off, there were wild celebrations that I had never experienced before. "One of the proudest moments for me on that night was when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed put his hand around my shoulder to congratulate me with his encouraging words, saying he was very proud of the achievement of an Emirati coach and to keep up the good work."

Baroot is not upset over being overlooked by the two clubs he served as caretaker manager. He saved Al Dhafra from relegation in 2008-2009 after taking over when Mohammed Kwid resigned midway through the season to return to his native Syria and lead Al Karamah in the ACL. Baroot's role was not extended and he was out of a job until Emirate employed him following the sacking of Ahmed al Ajlani, the Tunisian coach, in mid-January. His first game in charge was the President's Cup semi-final against Al Wahda, which they won through a goal in added time.

However, the good work and those results have not gone un-noticed. He was offered a job by the Football Association and appointed as the UAE Under 16 manager in May. "It is a new chapter in my career," said Baroot. "What I have achieved so far is history and now I am looking ahead. "I am very proud to work for the national association and I want to show them good results." Baroot was a midfielder and defender for Emirate and Al Jazira Al Hamra for more than 15 years from 1977. When his playing career ended, he was appointed the team administrator with Emirate in 1993.

"I didn't like that role," he said. "My ambition was to become a coach after my playing days were over, and I requested that the club put me through various coaching programmes. They appointed me as the U16 coach in 1997. I held this position for four years and the next four years as assistant to the first-team coach. "The club helped me a lot and all those officials and the foreign coaches with whom I worked with. I can't mention names, if I do, I don't want to miss out on anyone. And there is a long list of them."

Yousef Abdullah, the general secretary of the FA, has known Baroot for more than two decades. "Eid has worked as an assistant to several foreign coaches in the top-tier competition and has enough experience as he has proved in the last two seasons," Abdullah said. "We support and encourage local coaches, and we have a good program to educate them and qualify them to reach high levels in their careers. The FA had named 2010 as the 'Year of the Emirati coaches', and we are glad to take Eid onboard."

He said Baroot has been given a two-year contract to coach rising players who were born in 1993 or later, with a chance to qualify them for the Under 20 World Cup in 2013. "This is a massive challenge to Eid and I personally feel he can succeed," Abdullah said. "Our youth teams have done extremely well under the Emirati coaches and hope they get better results in the future." The U19 team won the Asian Cup for the first time in 2008 and reached the last eight in the U20 World Cup in the following year under Mahdi Ali. And Ali Ibrahim took the U16 to the Asian Cup semi-final and the last 16 in the U17 World Cup.

Baroot is currently with the squad in Hungary as part for a three-week camp to prepare them for the U16 Gulf Cup in Kuwait in September. They will also play in a friendly tournament from July 25 through August 5 in Lebanon. apassela@thenational.ae