Tite credits UAE spell for Brazil success and bright future

Tite had two spells coaching in the UAE before finding success in Brazil. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2018
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Tite credits UAE spell for Brazil success and bright future

  • From Al-Wahda to the World Cup, Brazil coach Tite’s journey to reach Friday’s quarterfinal against Belgium has taken him a curious route
  • Tite was afforded just five months in charge of the UAE club Al-Ain

KAZAN: From Al-Wahda to the World Cup, Brazil coach Tite’s journey to reach Friday’s quarterfinal against Belgium has taken him a curious route involving not one but two short spells in the United Arab Emirates. Short but significant, according to the 57-year-old.
It was a typically muggy summer afternoon in 2007 when Adenor Leonardo Bacchi first arrived in the Middle East. Contracted by Al-Ain, Tite had never coached outside his home country and was excited by the prospect of learning outside his comfort zone and evolving, a characteristic that has stuck with him throughout his career — before taking the reins of the Selecao in June 2016, he spent a year traveling around Europe shadowing the likes of Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti.
Tite was afforded just five months in charge of the UAE club, finishing with a record of 13 wins and six draws from 25 games before being dismissed.

 

Yet while it might seem like a blip or blemish on an otherwise impressive resume that includes, while with Corinthians, two Serie A championships, a Copa Libertadores title, and victory in the 2012 Club World Cup final against Chelsea, he regards it as a crucial period of his career.
“I am very grateful to (Mohammed) Khalfan (Al-Rumaithi), who was the director at Al-Ain,” he said ahead of today’s crunch quarterfinal in Kazan. “He allowed me to develop my work and to put into practice some ideas that were very important to me as a form of growth.
“I developed a lot of my theory with Al-Ain, exercising two lines of four with two attackers, trying different positions and functions that would maybe play out, fluctuations that happen during games, compacting the play.”
Although his time in the Garden City was cut short after a run of defeats that included elimination from the UAE President’s Cup, he would return to the region three and a half years later, this time at Al-Wahda. His second spell in the Gulf would prove even shorter, lasting just 50 days, but the reason for his departure was more favorable — he had been offered the chance to return to Brazilian giants Corinthians.

 

 Although Tite initially rejected the offer from the Sao Paulo club’s then-president Andrés Sánchez, after two weeks of persistent calls he finally accepted. It would prove a life-changing decision as he led Corinthians to domestic, continental and global success before being offered the national team job.
Ayman Khalil Mohammed, who has worked with Al-Wahda since 2003, remembers a driven coach with big ambitions and who remained undefeated during his spell in the UAE capital.
“Tite was only here for a short period, but he achieved positive results with us and we wanted him to continue,” said Mohammed.
“He received an attractive offer from Corinthians and apologized for not continuing with us. We were sad to lose him, but all understood and are certainly supporting him this month. We all want him to win the World Cup because he deserves it. He’s an excellent coach and I am very lucky to have worked with him. He deserves a lot of respect.”
It was not only tactical knowledge that Tite acquired during his days in Abu Dhabi. He also learnt a few words in Arabic, his most commonly used phrase being “mashi al koora,” which translates roughly as an order to always be touching the ball, keeping it moving, not letting it settle.
“I also got to know a different culture and understand better the level of difficulty involved in working with an interpreter,” Tite said. “This all helped me a lot and strengthened me as a coach. It was a big challenge, man, and I’m very grateful for it.”

ARAB NEWS PREDICTION: Brazil to win 3-2 — For all the trouble Belgium can cause Brazil, we cannot see the favorites losing this. Has potential to be a classic, but the Samba stars will shade it.

Decoder

KEY MEN

Paulinho vs Kevin de Bruyne — The brilliant Belgian has yet to hit top form in Russia. If he can find space then Brazil’s dogged defense could be in for a long night. Paulinho has been one of the South Americans’ best players so far and it will be his task to shut down any Belgium attack early.

FASTFACTS

SUMMARY

Brazil have got this far without ever having to go into fifth gear — they have sauntered to the last-eight. Belgium will provide the Samba stars with their toughest test yet. But as good as Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are, can they breach a defence that has looked as solid as they come?


Esperance Sportive de Tunis told to forget Real Madrid and focus on Al-Ain in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 41 min 27 sec ago
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Esperance Sportive de Tunis told to forget Real Madrid and focus on Al-Ain in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tunisian giants face Al-Ain in their quarterfinal
  • In Japan, Esperance were beaten by Asian champions Al-Sadd, a defeat that saw them miss out on the chance of playing Barcelona

ABU DHABI: Esperance Sportive de Tunis have been told they have to learn from their mistakes of 2011 or forget about a dream date with Real Madrid. 

The Tunisian giants face Al-Ain in their quarterfinal with their skipper Khalil Chemmam reminding them not to fall foul of overconfidence as they did when they last played in the FIFA Club World Cup seven years ago. In Japan, Esperance were beaten by Asian champions Al-Sadd, a defeat that saw them miss out on the chance of playing Barcelona in the semifinals.

With a last-four clash against Real Madrid on offer to the winners of Saturday’s match, Chemmam is only too aware of the possibility of history repeating itself. 

“We should concentrate on our quarterfinal first, take each game as it comes, and try not to make the same mistakes we made in 2011,” the Tunisia international said. 

“We have to focus on our initial opponents and do our research beforehand. We must give our all out on the pitch so that we don’t have any regrets this time.”

He added: “Appearing at the Club World Cup might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some players, so we should be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past, when we played well but lost. That’s why we have to stay focused and do our best to advance as far as we can in the competition.”

That Esperance are even in the position to take on the most successful club sides in the world has come as a bit of a shock to the defender. Egyptian aces Al-Ahly were strongly fancied to beat them over the two legs of the CAF Champions League final. They lost 3-1 in Alexandria but fashioned a brilliant comeback in the second leg, winning 3-0 to claim the title 4-3 on aggregate. 

But now that they have made it to the UAE they do, Chemmam admitted, have one eye on a clash with Real Madrid. 

“We didn’t really envisage winning the Champions League this season, but we wanted to go as far as possible,” Chemmam said. 

“There wasn’t much pressure on us, and we managed to go on a run and claim the title. And so we’ll try to do the same in the Club World Cup. 

“We won’t set an objective, but everyone’s been dreaming of making it to the final and playing Real Madrid, the European champions.

“I’m so fortunate to be an Esperance player. They’re a big name, not just in Tunisia, but throughout Africa. If I didn’t play here, I might not have had the chance to participate in the Club World Cup in 2011, and now again in 2018. That said, I’ll need to handle the large amount of responsibility placed on my shoulders, and hopefully we’ll record better results at this tournament compared to last time around in Japan.”

If Chemmam and his Esperance side can cause a shock or two over the coming few days, it perhaps would not be too much of a surprise. It is the team’s centenary year and as seen with the CAF Champions League win, luck does seem to be on their side. 

“Winning the Champions League this year was special because it came in the club’s centenary year and against a big team, Al Ahly,” Chemmam said. “Out of all the trophies we’ve won, this one is unique because we not only beat them, but we also played better than them. It was a happy day for Tunisia and for Esperance’s supporters, of course. It was an exceptional tournament for us.”

Of their last-four opponents he added: “It’ll be a tough match.

“Without a doubt … Al-Ain will have a lot of supporters in the stands, and that will give them a boost. However, our fans will be there for us too. They follow us wherever we go, and we expect that to continue at the Club World Cup.”