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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Former Al Hilal manager Giorgos Donis takes over at Sharjah after initial rejection

Donis, 46, signs two-year deal and is installed as successor to Abdulaziz Al Anbari in time for Sharjah’s training camps in Austria and Germany. They leave for Europe on Friday, John McAuley reports.
Giorgos Donis was appointed as the new Sharjah manager and signed a two-year deal with the club on Wednesday. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo
Giorgos Donis was appointed as the new Sharjah manager and signed a two-year deal with the club on Wednesday. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo

Giorgos Donis was announced as the new Sharjah manager after performing a U-turn regarding the position.

The Greek, 46, initially rejected an offer from the five-time UAE champions, believed to be a $5 million (Dh18.3m) package to cover his entire backroom staff, because he preferred to continue his career in Europe. He had most recently spent 15 months with Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal before he was dismissed in May.

However, Donis reconsidered Sharjah’s proposal and was at the club on Wednesday to discuss the contract and was planning for the season ahead. He signed a two-year deal. Donis was installed as successor to Abdulaziz Al Anbari in time for Sharjah’s training camps in Austria and Germany. They leave for Europe on Friday.

More from the Arabian Gulf League:

• Mohammed Fayez: Al Ain ‘striving for continental glory’

• AGL transfers so far: Diaky set for Al Jazira return, Al Ain add another Abdulrahman to ranks

• 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League fixtures: Times, dates and venues for each match

Sharjah are desperate to avoid a third consecutive season battling relegation in the Arabian Gulf League and have already signalled their intentions by signing Gelmin Rivas, the prolific Venezuelan striker from Saudi’s Al Ittihad. He replaces fellow forward Wanderley, who moved to Al Nasr earlier this month.

Sharjah are close to completing a deal for Wilker Angel, a compatriot of Rivas and a current international defender at Deportivo Tachira, although Donis reportedly prefers Digao, the Brazilian he managed at Hilal.

The other two available foreign slots in the squad will be decided by the new manager and the club’s technical committee.

Donis represented Sharjah’s No 1 target given his experience in the Gulf. He joined Hilal in February last year and during his time in Riyadh guided the club to success in the King’s Cup and the Crown Prince Cup. He also led Hilal to the semi-finals of the 2015 Asian Champions League, where Dubai’s Al Ahli defeated them.

Yet Hilal, 13-time Saudi champions, finished second in the Saudi Pro league last season. Donis was then relieved of his duties on May 18 following the 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv in the first leg of the last-16 Champions League tie.

Sharjah had also approached Pepe Mel, the former West Bromich Albion and Real Betis manager, but preferred Donis because of his knowledge of football in the region. Mel, 53, has never coached outside of Europe.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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Updated: July 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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