x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Mano Menezes in the frame for Al Nasr post

Brazilian in the running to take over at Dubai club after departure of Zenga last week.

Mano Menezes oversaw the Brazil football side that took part in the London Olympics last summer.
Mano Menezes oversaw the Brazil football side that took part in the London Olympics last summer.

DUBAI // Mano Menezes, Brazil's national team manager as recently as last November, has emerged as a strong candidate to succeed Walter Zenga at Al Nasr.

Menezes, who coached his country at last year's London Olympics, is thought to have been involved in lengthy negotiations with the Dubai club and had reportedly agreed in principle to take the position at Al Maktoum Stadium.

However, Nasr have yet to confirm the deal, raising suggestions they are considering other possibilities. A member of the club's board said earlier this week that a European and a South American were the only two options, before naming Bernd Schuster, the former Real Madrid coach, as one of the contenders.

It is believed, though, that Winfried Schaefer forms a realistic target, especially after he relinquished his role as manager of the Thailand national team earlier this week

Schaefer knows UAE football well, having coached with considerable success at Al Ain and Al Ahli.

When contacted by The National, a club source refused to verify Menezes had been approached, adding: "We are still in the negotiation phase, not only with one manager, but maybe three. One name has already been revealed in the media.

"However, we have not finalised the manager, but by early next week, I'll be able to tell you about the name of our new man. There is nothing concrete until now."

If Menezes proves to be that person, it would represent a significant coup for Nasr, with reports in Portuguese media this week suggesting the former Gremio and Corinthians manager was in line to replace Vitor Pereira at Porto, the newly crowned Portuguese champions.

Santos, too, were said to be interested in bringing him back to club management in his homeland, although Menezes, 50, has stated a desire to continue his career abroad.

He initially came to prominence in 2005 when guiding Gremio to promotion to the Brazilian top flight, and then to a third-place finish the following year.

In 2007, Menezes led Gremio to the final of the Copa Libertadores, only to lose both legs to Argentina's Boca Juniors.

He performed almost as admirably at Corinthians, first helping them to promotion to the top tier, before triumphing in the Campeonato Paulista, the premier league in the state of Sao Paulo, and the Copa do Brasil (Brazil Cup).

Following a disappointing 2010 Fifa World Cup under Dunga, the Brazil Football Confederation charged Menezes with revamping their ageing national team, but the Selecao frustrated at the Copa America the subsequent summer, and then were defeated by Mexico in the final of the 2012 Olympics.

He was removed from his post in November, to be succeeded by Luiz Felipe Scolari. In all, Menezes managed Brazil 33 times the majority of which were friendlies winning 21 matches. He already has coaching experience in the Emirates, having been on the touchline when Brazil faced Iran in a friendly in Abu Dhabi two and a half years ago.

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae