x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Derby win would be Hickersberger's parting gift to Al Wahda

The game against Al Jazira will be the last home game for the Austrian coach and the club's four foreign players – Fernando Baiano, Magrao, Hugo and Mohammed Shaibah

Al Wahda's head coach Josef Hickersberger is stepping down at the end of the season. Mike Young / The National
Al Wahda's head coach Josef Hickersberger is stepping down at the end of the season. Mike Young / The National

ABU DHABI // Josef Hickersberger plans to give the Al Wahda fans the best possible leaving present tonight.

His side play city rivals Al Jazira tomorrow in what will be the Austrian coach's last home game in charge.

The Abu Dhabi derby will also be the last time the four foreign players - the Brazilian trio Fernando Baiano, Magrao and Hugo, and Mohammed Shaibah, the Oman international - appear in a Wahda shirt at the Al Nahyan stadium as the club have decided not to renew their contracts.

"All the players have made themselves available and they want to give us the best possible best parting gift," Hickersberger said.

"This may be my last home game, as it is for Baiano, Magrao, Hugo and Shaibah."

Hickersberger led Wahda to the Pro League title in 2010 which gave them qualification for the Club World Cup played in the capital the same year.

However, he has not been able to repeat that success - the season-opening Super Cup has been their only trophy since - and is being replaced by Branko Ivankovic, the former coach of Iran and the Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq, in the summer.

Wahda are in fifth in the Pro League with two games to play, having finished fourth last season.

Wahda meet Al Wasl in the quarter final of the Gulf Club Championship at the Zabeel Stadium on May 15 before the final league game against the relegating-threatened Emirates in Ras Al Khaimah on May 27.

Caio Junior, the Jazira coach, sees the derby as a chance to regain some lost pride after their 5-1 home defeat to Al Nasr last week.

"The result of the last game doesn't relate the actual story," said the Brazilian, who has led Jazira to a President's Cup triumph and to the top of their Group in the Asian Champions League.

"I am still sorry about the result against Nasr.

"We were the technically superior team and created more scoring chances but at the end, only the number of goals scored that mattered.

"However, we will play to win the two remaining games and try to finish second in the league."

Caio Junior, who has eight wins and four defeats in three different competitions, has achieved the club's main objectives of winning the President's Cup and qualifying for the last 16 in the ACL since he took charge two months ago.

"The situation at the club is very positive because we have achieved all the targets set in front of us," he said.

The next challenge for Caio Junior is in the quarter finals in the ACL when they meet either Sepahan of Iran or Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 on May 22. "That's the next biggest game for us," he said. "We still have time and a good result against Wahda and then Al Rayyan in the ACL next week can do a lot for our confidence.

"For now, we are focused on our next game with Wahda. It is a clasico as we call it in Brazil. We will have the best line-up and are looking forward to an entertaining match."