x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Ivan Hasek in line for a second stint at Al Ahli

The 2009 Pro League title-winning coach expected to return.

Ahmed Rizvi

DUBAI // Ivan Hasek, who won the 2009 Pro League title with Al Ahli, is expected to return to the club as manager.

According to club sources, Ahli have already signed a deal with the former Czech international.

The Dubai club have struggled since Hasek guided them to the title in the first season of the Pro League. They were knocked out of the 2009 Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi by Auckland City, a team of part-timers from New Zealand, in the first round.

They have finished eighth in the Pro League for the last two seasons. In April, David O'Leary, the former Aston Villa and Leeds United manager, was dismissed after just nine months in charge.

A formal announcement is expected soon, but Ahmed Khalifa Hammad, Ahli's chief executive, yesterday declined to confirm Hasek's appointment.

"We will announce our coach and new foreign players in the coming days after we have made the signings," he said. "At this moment, we cannot say anything more."

Hasek is likely to have Brazilian Jaja Coelho heading his attack after Turkish media claimed Ahli had made a €5 million (Dh26m) bid for the Trabzonspor striker. Jaja, 25, who scored 14 goals last season, has been put on the transfer market for a poor disciplinary record.

"We have begun talks on the transfer of Jaja to Al Ahli," Trabzonspor said in a statement.

Ahli have also been linked with a move for Wolfsburg's Brazilian striker Grafite.

Since winning the league under Hasek in 2009, Ahli have been through six coaches, including Ioan Andone, Henk ten Cate and O'Leary.

Hasek also won the 2008 President's Cup with Al Ahli. He returned home in 2009 to contest the Czech football federation presidential elections, which he won and then took charge of his national team during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.