x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

New Sharjah coach Valeriu Tita not setting any targets

The Romanian, the new "first choice" coach of the Pro League club, is in a hurry to make up for lost time after taking over the reins with less than a month before the league kicks off.

Valeriu Tita’s first match in charge of Sharjah will be against Al Ahli on Friday.
Valeriu Tita’s first match in charge of Sharjah will be against Al Ahli on Friday.

SHARJAH // Valeriu Tita, the new "first choice" coach of Sharjah, is in a hurry to make up for lost time after taking over the reins with less than a month before the league starts.

The Romanian replaces Carlos Azenha, after the Portuguese stepped down last week to be with his wife, who has been diagnosed with cancer.

While Tita has little time to prepare the team, club officials are pleased with the turn of events as it has allowed them to recruit their original choice for the job.

"Tita was our first choice, but he was in negotiations with [Kuwaiti's] Al Naser club at that time so we backed out," Nasser Kashwani, the chief executive of Sharjah Football Company, said.

"Then he informed us that he had cancelled his contract with Al Naser and we went back to him. Tita's CV is really impressive and we are confident he will take Sharjah to the top in the Pro League … "

This will be Tita's fourth job this year. In January, he led Syria to third in their group in the Asian Cup in Qatar. He then signed with the Syrian club Al Shorta, but returned home because of the political unrest in the country, and he later joined Al Naser, before terminating his contract to take over at Sharjah.

"I have come here to change the situation Sharjah are in currently," Tita, 45, said. "I want us to play good football and achieve good results. Of course, I cannot promise you where we will finish in the league or the cups, but I can promise you Sharjah will be competitive and play good football.

"At the moment, I am not even thinking about any goals. Right now, I have to focus on our training and prepare the team as well as I can. Later on, we can set our targets once we know the team.

"There is no coach in the world who does not want to win titles, but there is no coach in the world who can promise you the title." Tita has spent a big part of his life, both as player and manager, in the Arab world, and he is confident he knows enough about football in these parts to turn around Sharjah's fortunes. The club have not won a trophy since their President's Cup triumph in 2003.

Starting his playing career as a midfielder with his hometown team Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Tita moved to Olympique de Casablanca in 1993 and won the Moroccan league and the Arab Cup Winners' Cup in the 1993/94 season.

"I know Arabic football and I am comfortable in this environment," he said. "I have worked in this part of the world for 10 years now and I believe that is enough time to know what is needed here."

Tita's first game will be the Etisalat Cup clash at Al Ahli on Friday, while their league campaign starts against Diego Maradona's Al Wasl on October 16.

"Tita is a top professional and we have more than 35 players who, I am confident, will grasp any changes the coach suggests," Kashwani said. "With the three matches of the Etisalat Cup before we start the league, I am confident the team will be ready for the first game against Maradona.

"Our target is to be really strong competitors in all three competitions. We have seen the team's performance improve gradually and we hope it will continue to go up."

arizvi@thenational.ae