x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Pro League: Sven-Goran Eriksson leaves Dubai club Al Nasr after four months

Sven-Goran Eriksson is leaving Al Nasr with rumours circulating that China and a return to club coaching will be next. John McAuley reports.

China's Guangzhou R&F is reportedly interested in internationally renowned coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, but the former England coach, when asked if China is his next destination, answers: 'Maybe, but there are other solutions as well.'
China's Guangzhou R&F is reportedly interested in internationally renowned coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, but the former England coach, when asked if China is his next destination, answers: 'Maybe, but there are other solutions as well.'

DUBAI // Sven-Goran Eriksson's brief tenure at Al Nasr has come to an end after the Swede revealed he will leave the UAE to return to club coaching.

The former England coach arrived in January as the Dubai side's technical adviser and signed an 18-month contract with a remit to oversee the technical development of all aspects of the football set-up, with particular focus on the youth academy.

He was also said to form an integral component in the club's committee tasked with identifying potential signings.

Eriksson was expected to continue in his role despite Nasr's decision on Saturday to part company with Walter Zenga, their coach of the past two and a half seasons.

Eriksson was initially tipped to replace the Italian, although both he and the club's board dismissed the idea.

He did not provide Nasr with the sort of recognition Diego Maradona gave Al Wasl during the previous Pro League season, but many fans of world football would have recognised Eriksson, 65, as he sat in the VIP area of Nasr home games over the final half of the season, often speaking with club officials seated on either side of him.

It now seems certain he will take a position at Guangzhou R&F, a team in the Chinese Super League, who last month claimed they were in discussions with the former Benfica, Lazio, Sampdoria and Manchester City manager.

Only last week, Eriksson denied he had been in contact with the club.

"I'm leaving Al Nasr, and Dubai early in the morning," he said last night. "I have done what I set out to do: I looked at football schools, academies and the first team, and I've given my advice on everything, such as how to get the best out of the academy and other details.

"So that part of the job is done. Now it's up to the club to do it or not. But from my side it's done.

"I might also have a possibility to go back into coaching somewhere. You will know that in a couple of days."

When asked if his next destination is China, Eriksson replied: "Maybe, but there are other solutions as well."

Eriksson's decision not to see out his contract will disappoint Nasr, as they had recently reiterated their determination to retain one of the most experienced men in world football.

Eriksson has led a nomadic existence during the past few years, which in 2010 saw him briefly manage Ivory Coast and then Leicester City. Last September he accepted a director of football role at BEC Tero Sasana, the two-time Thai champions.

That his work with Nasr lasted only 19 weeks may rankle with the club's supporters, but Eriksson says he is content with his contribution.

"I've been here four and a half months and I feel I've done what the club asked me to," he said. "So I'm finished. I've been very happy here and thanks to the chairman and vice chairman for that. They're very good people to work with and I'll go on and help them in the future if they want and if I can.

"I can give them advice about coaches and players, whatever is needed."

Eriksson refused to comment on whether he has played a part in the identification of Zenga's successor, simply adding: "Everything is done, but everything is confidential."

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae

 

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