x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Emirati players are 'really talented' says Jazira assistant

Hugo Broos says there is a vast difference, though, between Emirati players at the top of the Pro League from those at the bottom.

Hugo Broos, the Al Jazira assistant coach, and Franky Vercauteren have seen many talented Emirati players in the Pro League, but Broos says the gap from top to bottom is large.
Hugo Broos, the Al Jazira assistant coach, and Franky Vercauteren have seen many talented Emirati players in the Pro League, but Broos says the gap from top to bottom is large.

ABU DHABI // Hugo Broos, the assistant coach at Al Jazira, says he has already noticed a vast difference in quality between the best and worst of the Pro League's Emirati players.

The experienced Belgian, who won titles with Anderlecht and Club Brugge as both player and coach, also said UAE players have plenty of raw talent, but many need to focus far more on their football careers if they are to fulfil that potential.

This backs up Diego Maradona's claim last week that the Pro League suffers because too many Emiratis cannot fully commit to their respective teams.

Maradona, the head coach of Al Wasl, spoke of his frustration about the fact many of his Emirati players have jobs away from the club, or are students, and this has meant them being unable to turn up for every training session.

"All that is really needed now in this country is for the Emiratis to think about their football careers a lot more than they have been doing, and then they would become so much better," Broos said.

"I don't think I'm saying something stupid by comparing the Pro League to Belgian football right now in terms of when you compare the best players here to those who are at the lowest level, there is a big drop.

"However, there are good players in the league, and it's not just the foreign guys. I have watched five or six teams live and there are really talented local players in every team, I have to say."

Maradona, whose Al Wasl side sit top of the Pro League after two games, was surprised by the number of his players who have occupations away from football.

"I am not saying they are running away from training, but the problem is some of them have jobs, some are students, some in the police," said the Argentine. "They are tired and cannot perform well in training."

This is something Broos and Franky Vercauteren, the head coach, also have to deal with at Jazira and the champions, like everyone else, rely heavily on their foreign quota of players.

And the No 2 is delighted to be working with two players in particular he has long admired.

"I knew Matias Delgado [the Argentine midfielder] from my time in Turkey as coach of Trabzonspor, when he was with Besitkas, and he has always been an excellent player," he said.

"And we are fortunate to have Ricardo Oliveira [the Brazilian forward] who has played for Valencia and AC Milan, two massive European clubs.

"He has had a good reputation for many years.

"But, as I say, we have good Emiratis as well and our captain, Ibrahim Diaky, has really impressed me because I did not know much about him before I got to Al Jazira."

ncameron@thenational.ae


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Neil Cameron on @NeilCameron5