Former Braga coach Jose Peseiro is Al Wahda’s man
ABU DHABI // Al Wahda are looking to Jose Peseiro to get their misfiring season back on track after dismissing Karel Jarolim as coach on Friday after only 10 games in charge.
The Czech was only appointed in the summer but had endured a tough start to the campaign, and the club said they acted over the weekend in a bid to keep alive their hopes of challenging for a trophy this season.
The Abu Dhabi club have slipped to eighth in the Arabian Gulf League after six matches. They have not fared much better in the League Cup, either.
They are second bottom in Group A, with just three points from four games, leaving qualification for the knock-out stages a tall order.
According to a club official, who did not wish to be named, Peseiro signed a two-year deal on Saturday and will officially take charge after Wahda’s match with Sharjah in the League Cup at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Friday.
“The club management decided to make the change when we still have a chance to be in the trophy trail,” the official said. “They have been patient with Jarolim but didn’t see any improvement coming. We have two points from the last three league games, losing to Sharjah in the league and losing to Al Shaab in the [League] cup.”
Wahda, who were league champions as recently as 2010, are realistic about their aspirations under Peseiro.
“We don’t expect the new coach to come along with a magic formula but we hope at least trying a coaching change will motivate the players and bring some good fortune for us,” the official said.
Peseiro, 53, completed the formalities on the deal on Saturday in Abu Dhabi and travelled back to his home in Portugal the same day. The former Braga and Saudi Arabia national team coach is expected to return on Wednesday.
His first game in charge will be the Abu Dhabi derby on November 23, when Wahda take on Al Jazira.
Majed Salem, the reserve-team coach, will be in charge for Friday’s game with Sharjah, with Peseiro set to observe from the sidelines.
Peseiro had two spells in Saudi Arabia as coach of Al Hilal in 2006/2007 and was in charge of the national team from 2009 to 2011.
He was an assistant to Carlos Queiroz at Real Madrid and served as coach of Sporting in Lisbon, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest and most recently Braga.
Peseiro had his contract terminated at Braga a season early in the summer after the club missed out on qualification for the 2013/14 Uefa Champions League when they finished fourth in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, one position outside the required mark.