UAE land former AC Milan coach

Alberto Zaccheroni is the new manager of the UAE. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2017
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UAE land former AC Milan coach

LONDON: New UAE football manager Alberto Zaccheroni has targeted success at the 2019 Asian Cup after he was unveiled as the man to replace Edgardo Bauza who left abruptly to take charge of the Saudi Arabia national team.
The Italian, 64, has signed a 16-month contract, which runs to the conclusion of the continent's premier cup competition, and he will seek to draw on his experience of four years in charge of Japan where he won the 2011 Asian Cup.
“There is a great challenge that motivates me very much: the 2019 Asian Cup challenge,” said the former Serie A winning coach.
“I'm very excited and proud to be a part of this project. I will use all my experience over the years in Italy and abroad to achieve the best results for the UAE. I'm not a person who likes to talk a lot, but I prefer to work on the pitch and with the players and the team as a whole.
“I began coaching at the lower levels and no one has given me anything for free. I have worked for everything I achieved in Italy and I will do the same here, to achieve everything for the Emirates, the players, the media and the public."
Zaccheroni will inherit a UAE side boasting Omar Abdulrahman, the Al Ain playmaker who is viewed as one of the brightest talents in the region. Zaccheroni will take charge of the side for the first time next month when the UAE face Egypt.
“When I was in Japan most people spoke very highly of the UAE,” said Zaccheroni.
“I do not know the players personally, but I will wait for the moment when we meet.
“Only then can I start to plan to achieve our goal.
“I’m not the type of coach who has an agent. I never go looking for anything special for myself. I like to go where they want me.”


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.