x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Jazira in talks with Belgian league-winning coach Franky Vercauteren

Club may have an announcement in the next 24 hours on open coaching position.

Franky Vercauteren led RKC Genk to the Belgian Jupiler League title last season. He has also had a spell as caretaker coach for the Belgium national team.
Franky Vercauteren led RKC Genk to the Belgian Jupiler League title last season. He has also had a spell as caretaker coach for the Belgium national team.


Abu Dhabi // Franky Vercauteren, the coach of Racing Genk, the Belgian league champions, was negotiating a deal with Al Jazira yesterday evening in anticipation of becoming the club’s new coach.

A source at the club confirmed that Vercauteren was in the capital, but added: “He has arrived to discuss the terms and conditions. So at this moment we can only say the club is in discussion with him but anything is possible within the next 24 hours.”

Jazira have been seeking a new coach since Alejandro Sabella, who signed a two-year deal in June, reneged on his contract two weeks ago when he was offered the opportunity to coach the Argentina national team.

The Football Association website had already reported Vercautern as the new coach of Jazira yesterday afternoon, and many reports on football websites and in the Belgian media suggested that the coach was moving to Jazira on a two-year contract.

The loss of Vercauteren would be a major blow to Genk as they defend their Belgian league title and prepare for a two-legged play-off against Israel’s Maccabi Haifa for a place in the Uefa Champions League group stages.

Vercauteren, 54, won the Belgian title and Super Cup with Genk last season. He also won the league championship twice previously with RSC Anderlecht.

Vercauteren’s first task would be to prepare the team for the club’s Ramadan Cup friendly tournament from August 20 to 26 with Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia, Al Rayyan of Qatar and Al Nahda of Oman.

Vercauteren appeared 63 times for Belgium from 1977 to 1988, playing left wing in two World Cups. He began his career with Anderlecht in 1975 and had spells with FC Nantes of France and the Belgian club Racing White Daring Molenbeek.

His coaching career began in 1993/94 with the youth teams of CS Braine and KV Mechelen. He moved to Anderlecht as an assistant in 1998 and was the head coach from 2005 to 2007.

He was also caretaker coach of the national team in 2009 but stepped down after Belgium’s defeat to Armenia.

According to Belgian media, no one at Racing Genk would confirm whether Vercauteren had left the club. He was on the sideline for the team’s game on Saturday night, a 0-0 draw with Lierse.

apassela@thenational.ae