x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Caio Junior unsure of his future at Al Jazira

The Brazilian's three-month deal ends next month with the coach still waiting on a decision from club management if he is to remain in charge next season. Audio interview

Caio Junior saw his Al Jazira side eliminated from the Asian Champions League in a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday night. Jeff Topping/The National
Caio Junior saw his Al Jazira side eliminated from the Asian Champions League in a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday night. Jeff Topping/The National

ABU DHABI // Caio Junior is still unsure about his future as the Al Jazira coach when his three-month deal ends next month.

The Brazilian took charge of the Abu Dhabi club from Franky Vercauteren in early March and led them to the President's Cup success and a place in next year's Asian Champions League.

And he is convinced he can take the club further, given the chance.

"There is a lot of work to be done and I can prepare them if I am provided more time and if the club intends to keep me for the next season," he said.

Caio Junior's hopes of advancing in this year's ACL were dashed when Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia twice came from behind to snatch a 3-3 draw at the end of extra time on Tuesday and then won the penalty shoot-out 4-2.

"It is not the best time to talk about my future at the club. It is up to the club management to decide," Caio Junior said afterwards.

Jazira's final match of the season is against Dubai in the Pro League on Sunday when the 47 year old's future will be decided.

Caio Junior said he achieved the main objective of the club by winning the President's Cup and qualifying for next year's ACL. He also took them to the last 16 in the ACL for the first time in four years.

"We are very sorry and disappointed that we couldn't prevent a goal with two minutes left in extra time against Ahli," he said.

"It was a very humid and hot day and the players were very tired. We tried using the substitutes to counter it but some players were still suffering from cramps towards the end."

Yet he felt those in attendence were treated to some football of the highest quality by the two teams.

"I said before that it will turn out to be a good and exciting game and it did," he said. "To lose in penalties at the end was hard to stomach but this is the reality of the beautiful game."

Caio Junior took over while Jazira were still involved in three competitions and has achieved mixed results during his brief reign.

While they won the President's Cup and progressed in the ACL they were beaten in the semi-finals of the Etisalat Cup and are fourth in the Pro League, a title they were defending this season.

Jazira have made three managerial changes this season after the Brazilian coach Abel Braga's three-year tenure culminated with the league and President's Cup double in 2010/2011.

Alejandro Sabella, the Argentine, was signed to succeeded Braga but backed out of the agreement to become his country's national team coach. Vercauteren, the Belgian, was given the job but was dismissed because he did not get along with the players.

Now the ball is in Jazira's court to decide if Caio Junior's contract will be extended.

apassela@thenational.ae

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