x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ivan Hasek sacked by Al Ahli because of 'results'

Abdullah Misfir, the national team coach, insists Pro League chairmen need to learn to be patient, after Ivan Hasek became the latest managerial casualty at Al Ahli.

Ivan Hasek, the Al Ahli coach, only managed three points from three games on his return to manage the Red Knights.
Ivan Hasek, the Al Ahli coach, only managed three points from three games on his return to manage the Red Knights.

DUBAI // Abdullah Misfir, the national team coach, insists Pro League chairmen need to learn to be patient, after Ivan Hasek became the latest managerial casualty at Al Ahli.

Quique Sanchez Flores, the former Atletico Madrid manager, will officially start work tomorrow as the replacement for the sacked Hasek.

Ahli, currently 10th in the 12-team top division, have played just three league games so far.

On Friday, they lost out in the final of the GCC Clubs Champions League, to their nearest neighbours, Al Shabab.

While that result is likely to have contributed to Hasek's dismissal, he is also believed to have clashed with the club's board over his reluctance to play Jakson Coelho, one of their summer signings, who has not featured in the past three matches, and was substituted in the 75th minute of the 4-0 loss to Al Jazira on October 15.

Flores, who managed Valencia to the quarter-finals of the European Champions League during a spell in charge at the Mestalla, is the latest high-profile name to be tasked with bringing glory to the club.

The former Spain full-back has an impressive CV, but, given what has gone before, that is unlikely to count for much unless he can turn results around quickly.Hasek signed a two-year deal in the summer, while David O'Leary, the former Leeds United manager, served just nine months of a three-year contract before departing in April.

The Ahli players, who had been told not to report for training yesterday, were conspicuous by their absence at their home ground last night.

A collection of former international players, including the Ahli technical director, Fabio Cannavaro, were playing in a charity game at the Rashid Stadium.

The national team were also training on an adjacent practice pitch, and Misfir was disappointed to hear of the 53rd managerial change in just three seasons in the Pro League.

"Our people are not patient," Misfir said. "They need to give the managers a chance because change does not happen very quickly.

"I am a coach, and I could not give all of my experience to my players in the space of just two or three months.

"You need time to transfer your ideas to the players, but our people are not ready to wait."

Flores, who has also managed Benfica, is undoubtedly a big name recruit, but the haste with which Ahli dismissed with Hasek is a surprise, given the esteem in which he was apparently held at the club.

In his first stint in Dubai, the former Czech international had led them to the 2008 President's Cup, as well as the inaugural Pro League title the following season.

He left the UAE to take up a dual role as chairman of the Czech Football Federation and manager of their national team, and the club seemingly unravelled in his one-and-a-half-year absence.

Many were tried as his replacement, but none succeeded, as the Red Knights limped to successive eighth-place finishes following their 2009 title success.

He said he felt like he was "returning home" when he rejoined the club in the summer.

Upon his return, he immediately impressed the coaching staff which he inherited, and the club hierarchy, too, who insisted he would be given time, with Ahmed Al Khalifa, the chief executive, quoted in June as saying: "We understand he cannot turn things around in one day, and we will support him on everything."

Yet, less than a month into the league season and with just three points from three games, he has been replaced.

A club spokesman said Hasek was sacked on Monday night, stating no more than "results" as the reason, while senior club officials were unwilling to discuss the matter.

"We do not want to release any information now, everything will be answered [at the official unveiling of Flores tomorrow]," Al Khalifa said.

pradley@thenational.ae


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