x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Schaefer 'return' to Al Ahli

The charismatic German, could be in line for a dramatic return to Al Ahli to replace outgoing manager Mahdi Ali, who ended his temporary stay in charge on Wednesday night.

Winfried Schaefer, the charismatic German, could be in line for a dramatic return to Al Ahli to replace outgoing manager Mahdi Ali, who ended his temporary stay in charge on Wednesday night. Schaefer guided Ahli to the league title in 2006 and is available after being sacked by Al Ain last month. It is understood Schaefer, 59, has not been approached by the Dubai club about the vacancy but he is thought to be receptive to the idea of a swift return to management in the UAE.

Whoever replaces Ali will become Ahli's fourth coach in the space of six months. The champions were rocked by the resignation of Ivan Hasek in June but then parted company with his successor, the Romanian Ioan Andone, after just six games in charge. Ali took over in November after gaining permission from the Football Association to combine the role with his full-time job as coach of the national Under 20 team. The two-month arrangement came to an end after Wednesday night's 1-1 draw with Sharjah in the Etisalat Emirates Cup.

"I hope they will do well in the future because this club is close to my heart and like a home for me," said Ali, who will continue preparing the U20 team for the 2012 Olympic qualifiers. "I have another tough challenge ahead of me. Qualifying for the London Olympics is our top priority for the moment and I hope we will do well and achieve our objectives." Nooraldine al Obeidi, the assistant coach, will act as Ahli's manager until a replacement is found. His first game in temporary charge will be home to Al Shabab on January 10.

Abdulmajeed Hussain, director of Ahli's first team, said: "Mahdi was with us for a short time, but he did a good job. We thank him and wish him success with the national team." arizvi@thenational.ae