Al Wasl are apparently interested in bringing in Frenchman Bruno Metsu to replace Diego Maradona, with the latter saying that arguments over the transfer budget caused his dismissal.
Pro League: Bruno Metsu would be 'crazy' to take on Wasl's issues
Dubai // A leading UAE football analyst has warned Bruno Metsu he would be "crazy" to succeed Diego Maradona as Al Wasl manager, a claim reinforced by the former coach's allegations the club were not prepared to back him in the transfer market.
The Argentine was dismissed on Tuesday night midway through his two-year contract, with Ismail Rashid, the former Wasl captain who now sits on board, confirming to The National the decision was a unanimous one.
Mohammed bin Dukhan, vice chairman of Al Wasl Football Company, has revealed a shortlist exists of "four or five names", yet Metsu was the only candidate named.
The Frenchman is no stranger to UAE football, having guided Al Ain to the 2003 Asian Champions League title before leading the UAE national team to the 2007 Gulf Cup crown.
However, Kefah Al Kaabi, a respected voice within UAE football, believes given the timing of the change and the standard of the current squad - Wasl finished eighth in the Pro League last season - Metsu would be wise to reject the club's advances.
"If Metsu is intelligent, he's not going to take the job with the club in such bad shape," Al Kaabi said. "All teams started preparing for the new season two months ago and have brought in good local players and the best ones from overseas.
"The only one that hasn't is Wasl. Time is not on their side; Metsu would have too many things to do.
"He could be a good choice in the future as he's been here and worked in Qatar and Saudi, and knows the mentality of the players.
"But if he's smart he'll stay away this time. If you don't give him the tools to achieve his goals then he'd be crazy to lead a team like Wasl. Everything is against him."
Al Kaabi insists Wasl have sounded out "one or two options" in Brazil and criticised the board for not dismissing Maradona immediately after last season.
Rashid, though, defended Wasl's judgment.
"The decision is the right one. Everybody agreed," he said. "This didn't come from one person; there were a lot of meetings and we made the choice everyone wanted.
"As [Bin Dukhan] said, the club had not improved on the technical side.
"We're not talking about the image; for raising the club's profile Maradona was one of the best. But on the pitch we are looking for better things. We thank Maradona for the job he did, yet this is professional life. This is football."
Maradona, though, released a statement on his website insisting strained negotiations regarding new signings led to his dismissal.
Wasl recently decided, against his wishes, not to retain winger Mohammed Reza Khalatbari.
"The fact is that in the last days we had been talking to try to come to an agreement regarding the purchase of new players, which is a requirement to be able to win the league with great results," the statement read.
"If it is impossible for the club to buy new players because they lack the funds to do it, there will always be the possibility to discuss this together with the board to try to find solutions.
TEAM SPIRIT HAS AL AIN CAMP OPTIMISTIC
Al Ain’s defence of their Pro League title is, in practice, already underway, with the champions in the middle of an intense pre-season training camp to improve fitness levels in Logan, Austria.
Most of the squad travelled out on Monday and was joined on Wednesday by Abdullah Sultan and Sultan Nasser.
Since then, under the watchful eye of their Romanian coach Cosmin Olariou, they have had two intense sessions daily as the coach readies his side to enter what he calls a period of domination of the league.
Training was shifted to a sand pitch on Wednesday morning before thunderstorms wiped out the planned evening session.
The only slight concern so far has been a thigh niggle picked up by midfielder Mohammad Abdulrahman, one of three brothers in the side.
“I felt sudden pain during the endurance exercises which is necessary for fitness levels,” he said in a statement.
He was happy, however, with how preparations were going.
“Al Ain lives the best times now in Austria which is so promising,” Abdulrahman said. “What we experienced in the last two seasons enhanced our power more and we got more experience in handling all kind of pressure.
“What makes Al Ain special is the team spirit which is the most prominent title for all successes we have.”
Nasser praised Olariou’s drive to ensure that Al Ain don’t again go for as long again as they did without a title.
Cosmin asks us to have no limitation for our ambitions because we play for one of the biggest clubs in Asia, which demands double efforts to prove that we are trustworthy to play for this club. I will double my efforts as everyone does here to reach the ultimate ambition as champions.”
– With agency
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE