LONDON: Al-Ahli have concluded the search for a new manager after announcing they have recruited Pablo Guede on a two-year contract.
There had been a vacancy at the Jeddah giants after Sergei Rebrov was fired on April 19 — a week after Al-Ahli were pipped to the Saudi Pro League title by a single point on the final day.
Fathi Al-Jabal, the Tunisian, was placed in temporary charge for the AFC Champions League round of 16 matches against Al-Sadd, but the plan was always to recruit a permanent successor to Rebrov and the board have decided that Guede is the man.
The 43-year-old Argentine, is relatively unknown outside of South America and this will be only his sixth coaching job. He started off his coaching career in Spain's lower leagues at El Palo and has since taken two jobs in Chile and two in Argentine. He won the Supercopa Argentina with San Lorenzo in 2015 and then won three titles at Colo-Colo, the Copa Chile in 2016, the Chilean Primera Division in 2017 and the Supercopa de Chile in 2017 and 2018.
Guede was a forward in his playing days and the high point of his career came when he spent two seasons at Malaga from 1997.
One of Guede's first tasks will be to get star forward Omar Al-Somah back on side and reintegrated. The Syrian striker fell out with Rebrov towards the end of the season but two days after Rebrov was fired, it was announced Al-Somah had extended his contract with Al-Ahli until 2021. Key defender Mohamed Al Fateel has also re-signed until 2021.
Guede will have a solid base to work from as he inherits a team that finished second to Al-Hilal by a whisker and boasted Motaz Hawsawi as the league's best centre-back and the best keeper in Mohammad Al-Owais.
While Al-Ahli have moved swiftly to fill their managerial vacancy, Al-Hilal are still no nearer to find a replacement for Ramon Diaz. The Argentine was fired in December and the champions muddled through with Juan Ignacio Brown until the end of the season, but the champions have failed to land Quique Sanchez Flores or Paulo Fonseca and have now turned their attention to Sporting manager Jorge Jesus.