x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wahda delay naming coach

The Pro League champions expect to announce their new manager tomorrow, with Josef Hickersberger, their former coach, still the strong favourite.

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda, the Pro League champions, expect to announce their new manager tomorrow, with Josef Hickersberger, their former coach, still the strong favourite.

Tite, the Brazilian manager, quit the club on Sunday after just 45 days in charge to take up the manager's position at Corinthians in his homeland.

Hickersberger's flying visit to Abu Dhabi on Sunday has given rise to speculation he will return to the club he led to the Pro League title last season.

However, he returned to Bahrain yesterday without signing a contract. The Austrian is the coach of Bahrain's national team.

Wahda's management revealed that obstacles remain before they can name their candidate.

"We have a name short-listed for the job but there are a lot of other issues before we can complete the deal. Hopefully everything will be clear by Wednesday," Khaled Awadh, the deputy chief executive of the club, said.

Hickersberger is a strong candidate because he is familiar with the players, leading them to the league title last season and qualification for the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

Wahda have not struck a long-term partnership with a coach in recent seasons until Hickersberger's 18-month stint. Rainer Hollman led the club to the league title in 2004/05, but the German was sacked midway through the next campaign and since then, Wahda changed coaches every season.

Wahda are under pressure from the Football Association to improve on Al Ahli's poor performance in the Club World Cup last season and therefore need to act fast in appointing a new manager.

apassela@thenational.ae