Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Abdulaziz Al Anbari crowned coach of the year after leading Sharjah to Arabian Gulf League title

Al Anbari the first Emirati to win the AGL title after guiding club to first championship since 1996

Sharjah manager Abdulaziz Al Anbari said the recognition received at Friday night’s Arabian Gulf League Awards was testament to the club’s success this season.

Sharjah collected a number of honours at the lavish ceremony at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, two days after the club became UAE champions for the first time in 23 years.

Al Anbari, the first Emirati to manage a side to the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) crown, was a popular choice for coach of the year, while playmaker Igor Coronado picked up the award for best foreign player, and Adel Al Hosani was named the division’s best goalkeeper. Coronado and Al Hosani made the AGL Team of the Season, together with teammates Shaheen Abdulrahman and Majed Suroor.

“You see our goalkeeper is the best, midfielder the best, everything,” Al Anbari said. “For me, this vote is very important. The secret to [becoming champions] was teamwork. We said to the players if we want to fight with the strong teams, we must be together, like a family, like a team. You cannot work as individual players.

"We started the camp like a team, started the league like a team and we finished like one. We worked hard for teamwork. It’s not easy to fight with strong teams who had more experience than us. But we worked together and it’s important the players listened to the staff, what we want and we were close together. We were like family.”

Sharjah won the league with one round to spare, remaining unbeaten through their first 23 matches. Coronado was a standout, scoring 17 goals and assisting another nine. Captain for the night in place of the suspended Abdulrahman, the Brazilian scored twice in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory against Al Wahda to secure the championship. Welliton, his compatriot, got the other to increase his tally for the season to 19 goals.

The clinching of the title sparked wild scenes at the Khaled bin Mohammed Stadium, as Sharjah confirmed their position as UAE champions for the first time since 1996.

“The fans helped us too much this year,” Al Anbari said. “They stayed behind us, even when we drew, even when we lost against Al Wasl. With us that’s very important.

“Next season will be very hard, with the Asian Champions League. For Sharjah to stay at the top is not easy. We want even more hard work next year; we need some local players. I hope we will find good local players to help. I know it will not be easy, but we will try our best.”

Updated: May 18, 2019 06:24 PM

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