x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Difference in vision led Sami Al Jaber and Al Wahda to part ways

'We could not reach an agreement on certain issues' says Sami Al Jaber as he leaves Al Wahda with his contract, which took him to the end of the season, completed.
Sami Al Jaber argues with a referee while in charge of Al Wahda during an Arabian Gulf League match in April. Christopher Pike / The National / April 12, 2015
Sami Al Jaber argues with a referee while in charge of Al Wahda during an Arabian Gulf League match in April. Christopher Pike / The National / April 12, 2015

Sami Al Jaber says he parted company with Al Wahda because the two parties could not completely agree on which direction to take the club next season.

The Saudi Arabian, appointed on a short-term contract in February, gave the reasons for his departure on his official Twitter account late Monday night, moments after Wahda had announced the news.

Al Jaber had endured an indifferent spell in charge since replacing Jose Peseiro as coach, winning four of 10 Arabian Gulf League matches. His first assignment – the Asian Champions League qualifier against Qatar’s Al Sadd – ended in a penalty-shootout defeat.

When Al Jaber took the reins, Wahda sat third in the league table, four points off the summit. They eventually finished fourth, despite recently showing signs of improvement. Last week’s 5-1 victory against Al Nasr – their final game of the 2014/15 campaign – increased the club’s unbeaten run to five matches. Following the win, Al Jaber said he looked forward to signing a contract extension. His initial deal, originally until the season end, included an option to remain at the Al Nahyan Stadium through to 2016.

However, last Thursday’s shock defeat in the President’s Cup to Dubai Club, the Division One side, appears to have weakened Al Jaber’s position. On Monday, the club confirmed the termination of his contract, prompting the former Al Hilal coach to clarify his position.

“I met with the club’s management to discuss renewing my contract due to my and the club’s desire to continue next year, and the meeting was to set out a plan for next season,” he said. “I wanted to carry on, but only in a way that I could succeed, and the management also had had its own plans to take the club forward.

“During the meeting we discussed next season’s programmes and our requirements, and we could not reach an agreement on certain issues so it was agreed not to renew the contract.

“What was certain was that in the meeting the main target was to return Al Wahda to its former glory and everyone was working towards that despite the differences in opinion.”

Al Jaber, 42, thanked the Wahda players, management and fans for their support during the past three months. The Abu Dhabi club will now begin to look for a replacement, although it is understood there could be changes at board level before they identify possible candidates.

Joining the coach on the way out is the Moroccan international Adil Hermach, who joined Wahda on January 2014 on a two-and-a-half-year deal from Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal as a replacement for the injured Marco Estrada.

“The club management has already informed the player as to provide him enough time to negotiate for a move,” said a club official. ​

jmcauley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE