x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The Pro League coaches came, but they soon went

The policy of hiring and firing managers is not unusual among the teams from the Gulf region and it is an approach that is carrying on regardless.

The policy of hiring and firing managers is not unusual among the teams and Al Wahda's Josef Hickersberger suffered no different fate.
The policy of hiring and firing managers is not unusual among the teams and Al Wahda's Josef Hickersberger suffered no different fate.

The policy of hiring and firing managers is not unusual among the teams from the Gulf region and it is an approach that is carrying on regardless. The Pro League had a slightly better record in its second season since the game turned professional, with five managers - Josef Hickersberger, Abel Braga, Alexandre Guimaraes, Manuel Cajuda and Lutfi al Benzarti - staying the distance compared to just three who survived in the first year.

Hickersberger, who led Al Wahda to the league title, left the club a few days after the end of the season amid allegations he demanded his salary be doubled as he was ready to move to Al Sadd, the Qatar league champions, who failed to go beyond the group stage of the Asian Champions League. Braga, the Al Jazira manager, has had his contract extended until June 2011. The Brazilian will be hoping to lead his side, who were runners-up in the league, to a consolation prize in tomorrow's Etisalat Cup final against Ajman.

Guimaraes, the Brazilian manager of Al Wasl, and Cajuda, the Portuguese in charge at Sharjah, both completed their one-year contracts and may be retained as they have done pretty well in improving the positions of their clubs. Toninho Cerezo, who led Al Shabab to the league title in 2007/08, became the first casualty of the season. He later took charge of Al Ain, but was fired after the team's exit from the Asian Champions League following a 3-2 defeat to Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan on April 13.

Ze Mario, another Brazilian, was next to go at Ajman followed by Ioan Andone, the Romanian, at Al Ahli. Mahdi Ali, who was given permission by the Football Association to take over Ahli, primarily to prepare them for the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, did not have much success and returned to national duty with the youth team. Ahli continued the remainder of the season under Noureldine al Obaidi, the Tunisian, as caretaker coach. The casualty list also includes the Germans, Winfried Schaefer (Al Ain) and Frank Pagelsdorf (Al Nasr), Laurent Banide, the Frenchman, at Al Dhafra, and Ahmed al Ajlani, the Tunisian, at Emirate. Schaefer's sacking came as a surprise as his team were only four points behind Jazira in second place in the league. He had led them to the cup double in the previous season, but the shock defeat to Ajman in the President's Cup, followed by a loss to Wahda in the league in their next game, sealed the German's fate. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae

Toninho Cerezo - Al Shabab, Al Ain The Brazilian was fired from Al Shabab before replacing Winfried Schaefer at Al Ain where he was dealt a similar fate. Winfried Schaefer - Al Ain The German led them to the cup double last year but his one-year term in the second season ended in December after successive defeats to Ajman and Al Wahda. Ze Mario - Ajman The Brazilian coach was sacked following eight straight defeats. Ioan Andone - Al Ahli The Romanian was dismissed after a string of poor results for the Dubai-based club. Mahdi Ali - Al Ahli The UAE Under 20 coach was given the task of preparing the team for the Club World Cup. They made a first round exit, beaten by Auckland City, an amateur side from New Zealand. Henk Ten Cate - Al Ahli The Dutchman resigned after one month in charge. Frank Pagelsdorf - Al Nasr Lost the support of the fans and was replaced by Helio dos Angos. Laurente Banide - Al Dhafra The Frenchman was fired after a poor return of results. Ahmed al Ajlani - Emirate Lost the support of the fans and was replaced by Helio dos Angos. Josef Hickersberger - Al Wahda Ended the club's five-year trophy drought by winning the Pro League but left immediately afterwards.