Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 June 2019

Henk ten Cate open to option of staying on as Al Wahda manager

The Dutchman said he will have discussions with the Abu Dhabi club after guiding them to third place in the Arabian Gulf League

Henk ten Cate is open to staying on with Al Wahda as manager Chris Whiteoak / The National
Henk ten Cate is open to staying on with Al Wahda as manager Chris Whiteoak / The National

Henk ten Cate says the door is not closed on him continuing as Al Wahda manager, despite having earlier confirmed his retirement from club football.

Ten Cate, 64, was expected to call an end to his time at the Abu Dhabi club following Sunday night’s Arabian Gulf League finale against Al Ain, when he guided his side to a 1-0 victory. With it, Wahda leapfrogged both their opponents and Al Jazira and into a third-placed finish.

However, asked about his future immediately after the match, Ten Cate said: “This whole week, everybody was speaking about this. That I might be going, the staff might be going. It is how it is. To be honest, there’s a small opening. I’m speaking with the club. I don’t know. I will sit with them tomorrow and see what we can do.

“It has nothing to do with money. Nothing, nothing. Because this club pays. First of all, I want to say thank you to the public, who were very supportive to me and my team.

“I want to thank Al Wahda for giving me the opportunity to work with the team and do what we did. There is a slight possibility that there’s something. I have to discuss this with the people involved. So maybe, yes.”

No matter what happens in the coming days, Ten Cate has proved a real success in his near-six months at Wahda. When appointed in December as Laurentiu Reghecampf’s permanent successor, the club were winless in five AGL matches and had crashed out of the President’s Cup at the last-16 stage.

Yet they rallied to finish third and seal an automatic spot in next year’s Asian Champions League. In this year’s tournament, Wahda finished top of their group and will contest the knockout stages for the first time in 12 years when the competition restarts in August. They are the only UAE side to progress to the last 16.

Previous to Wahda, Ten Cate spent two-and-a-half years at city rivals Jazira from December 2015, leading the club to league and President’s Cup success.

Speaking about the turnaround at Wahda, the Dutchman said: “What a run. Thank you to my staff, in everything they did with me and for me, and for the players. Sometimes you don’t realise what you do exactly and then, later on, when you settle down and think about what happened, think about the situation when we came – end of December – and where we are now.

“And the way we’ve been playing, with the young players we used and the injuries we had. We weren’t really lucky. What we did altogether was fantastic. The players worked really hard for this.”

Updated: May 27, 2019 11:53 AM

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