x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Pro League: Al Ain official dispels rumours of coach Cosmin Olaroiu's move

Al Ain adamant Olaroiu will be in the dugout when 2013/14 season kicks off in September.

Cosmin Olaroiu addresses a news conference in Al Ain on Wednesday. Silvia Razgova / The National
Cosmin Olaroiu addresses a news conference in Al Ain on Wednesday. Silvia Razgova / The National

Al Ain remain convinced Cosmin Olaroiu will stay at the club next season, despite the Romanian being repeatedly linked with a return to Saudi Arabia.

Olaroiu, who has previously managed Al Hilal, the Riyadh-based side, is much coveted after leading his charges to successive Pro League titles, and that success was believed to have encouraged Al Ahli, the two-time Saudi champions, to make an approach.

However, Olaroiu has continued to dismiss the speculation as merely that, a stance echoed yesterday by Mohammed Abdullah bin Bdoua, a member of the Al Ain board.

"People always try to spread rumours so to make news for themselves, but the fact is Cosmin has a contract with Al Ain for next season," said Bin Bdoua. "We have discussed with him many times about improving the technical aspects of the team and he is more than keen to stay.

"Rumours like this are normal when they are related to distinguished teams and because Cosmin is the best coach in the UAE. We all agree about Cosmin's charisma and his coaching abilities. It would be hard to replace him, but he's now working on preparing the team for an important period in the coming season."

Al Ain sealed their 11th top-flight title last month - they did it with four games to spare - but will not be awarded the trophy until they conclude their season at home to Al Nasr on Friday night.

Olaroiu's men are worthy champions, having scored more goals (72) and conceded less (25) than the rest of their rivals, while they have registered 19 victories from 25 matches.

Their record has been sullied slightly by disappointing recent results, although Olaroiu has used those games to blood a number of youth team players. Bin Bdoua, though, believes the experience will prove invaluable, especially as in 2013/14 Al Ain attempt to retain the league while also competing in the domestic cup competitions and thriving in the Asian Champions League.

"The young names proved themselves to be worthy of wearing the Al Ain jersey," he said. "It was the most suitable time to test the players' abilities as the coach couldn't give them a chance during the season.

"Al Ain accomplished a rare achievement by becoming the first team in the professional era to be crowned champions in consecutives years, especially when they had the pressure of matches in all the other competitions," Bin Bdoua added. "Next season Al Ain's task will be greater because we're champions two years in a row, so we must start the assessment period for all players for next season."

To celebrate their coronation on Friday, Al Ain will distribute gifts to supporters during the Nasr encounter, and afterwards from an open-top bus, with fans also given flags and commemorative T-shirts to mark the occasion.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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