x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

It's Jazira's turn for title says Abel Braga

Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, had some interesting insights when pressed for predictions.

Abel Braga, the Al Jazira coach, had some interesting insights when pressed for predictions. A first Pro League championship for his club. Al Wahda as their toughest competition. And Wahda winning their first match in the Fifa Club World Cup next month.

The Brazilian also insists, and does not just predict, that he will be at Jazira for the length of his contract, which is believed to pay him more than Dh1.1 million a month.

"Believe me, if I were looking for easy living or easy money, I would go to Brazil," he told Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National.

"But, my relationship with the club is bigger than any contract. I will be remaining with the team until my contract expires."

He said he expects this season to produce Jazira's "long-awaited reward" as Pro League champions after three consecutive seasons of finishing second.

He expects Wahda, the defending champions, as well as Baniyas, to be his club's toughest competition. "Despite difficulties and under any circumstances, Al Wahda remains the biggest contender in the tournament," he said. "But Baniyas are also playing notably well due to their balanced player formation."

He expects Wahda to survive their opening match with the Oceania champions Hekari United of Papua New Guinea on December 8 in the Club World Cup. "I am confident," he said.

"I hope [Wahda] would be able to go past the second round, too. In any circumstances, I am confident they will be better than Al Ahli, who lost in the opening round last year."

In the Club World Cup final, however, he said "there will be no surprises", seeing a match between Inter Milan of Italy and Internacional of Brazil.

Braga expects results from his own side in the Asian Champions League, as well. "It is time for the team to compete for the final rounds," he said.