x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Back to the future for Al Wahda?

Brazilian manager Tite's sudden departure from Al Wahda after only 45 day has opened the door for former manager Josef Hickersberger to return to the club he led to the title last season.

They say that you can never go home again. But Al Wahda Football Club may revisit an old winning formula to find future success.

Brazilian manager Tite's sudden departure from Al Wahda after only 45 day has opened the door for former manager Josef Hickersberger to return to the club he led to the title last season.

The good news for Al Wahda fans is that, if Hickersberger returns, he has only been away since June, and would still be very familiar with the playing staff, the majority of whom he coached during the last campaign. What's more, having left the club on good terms, as Tite is doing now, the Austrian's return would not cause any friction with management or players.

But tough challenges lie ahead. The champions are currently fourth in the Pro League table, and nothing short of a strong challenge for the title is expected once again. More importantly, Al Wahda are weeks away from participating in the Club World Cup, the second year that it will be held in Abu Dhabi. The Football Association is so keen on Al Wahda improving on Al Ahli's poor showing last year that it has banned their international players, like Ismail Matar and Abdulrahim Jumaa, from November's Gulf Cup in Yemen.

For any coach, attempting to repeat success with a former club is a tough task. For Hickersberger, the immediate expectations would be sky high.