x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Josef Hickersberger is ready for Al Wahda departure

The Austrian laments injuries this season and does not think he will be asked to stay on at the Abu Dhabi club next year.

Josef Hickersberger, the Al Wahda head coach, right, feels his time has run out at the Abu Dhabi club.
Josef Hickersberger, the Al Wahda head coach, right, feels his time has run out at the Abu Dhabi club.

Josef Hickersberger, whose time as coach at Al Wahda goes back to 2008, believes the club will not ask him back for the 2012/13 season.

"I don't think they want me to continue for another season because this season has not been a good one and the coach is the one blamed for poor results," he said.

Wahda last week won only their second domestic match of 2012, a 2-1 victory at Sharjah.

With four league matches to play, Wahda are seventh in the league, three points from fifth but nine points from a Champions League position. They also are safely above the relegation zone.

The Abu Dhabi club's season has been a story of injuries to key players. The Brazilian midfielder Magrao was out for much of the term, and the forwards Fernando Baiano and Ismail Matar have missed significant time, as have the UAE international midfielders Mohammed Al Shehhi and Khalid Jalal.

The defender Basheer Saeed was sold to Al Ahli, and the Omani international Mohammed Shaibah, on loan from Al Wasl, has often been unavailable, due to injuries.

"It was difficult to build a team because in some positions we ran out of substitutes," Hickersberger said. "We didn't have a right-back for a while, and then a left-back.

"It has been a tough season, but it's my job to keep the team positive."

The 63-year-old Austrian is one of a handful of men to appear in the World Cup as both a coach and player with his national team. Diego Maradona, the Al Wasl coach, is another.

Hickersberger was hired at Wahda in December of 2008. He left the club to take over the Bahrain national team in the summer of 2010, but returned in October of that year and led Wahda to the fifth-place game of the Club World Cup against Pachuca of Mexico, who won in a penalty shootout.

Wahda won the Super Cup to open the current season, in a shootout over Al Jazira, and reached the semi-finals of the President's Cup.

His career league record at Wahda is 36 victories, 16 draws and 17 defeats.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

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