ABU DHABI: Al-Jazira FC have rewarded Dutch first-team manager Marcel Keizer a new two-year deal after he led the club to the 2020-21 Arabian Gulf League title.
The new contract, which now runs to the summer of 2023, will see Keizer’s commitment to the Pride of Abu Dhabi extended to four years since joining the club in the summer of 2019.
“Ever since my first day at this great club, I have been made to feel very welcome and I am proud to call Abu Dhabi my second home,” Keizer said. “I am extremely proud of this moment today, and particularly as it comes after an exceptional season in which we were crowned deserved UAE champions. I want to thank the club’s Vice President His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, all board members, backroom staff, players and fans for their trust in me.”
Keizer, 52, rejoined Al-Jazira for a second stint at the club at the start of the 19-20 season and has since led the team to the pinnacle of UAE football by securing the team’s third Arabian Gulf League title in its history and the first since 2017.
“We are very pleased to renew Marcel Keizer’s contract with our club,” Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, Al-Jazira FC vice president and chairman of the executive committee, said. “In Marcel, we have a master strategic tactician who exemplifies our philosophy of slick, attacking-style football while also implementing our vision of developing and relying on young local talent from our academy to ensure the club’s stability and continuous success.
“Last season’s achievements speak for themselves and are a true testament of Marcel’s commitment and hard work for the club,” he added. “Marcel’s contract renewal signals the stability and long-term planning of our football club, which is thanks to a huge team effort off the pitch from everyone in the Al-Jazira family. I am sure all the Pride of Abu Dhabi’s fans are as proud and happy as we are to continue seeing Marcel lead out the team for at least the next two seasons.”
During last season’s 26-match campaign, Al-Jazira’s first team featured 17 academy graduates and recorded 17 wins along the way, only losing three times while scoring a league-high 65 goals and achieving a goal difference of +36. It is the most a team has scored in a season since Al-Jazira’s last league title in 2016-2017.
During his second spell at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, the former AFC Ajax midfielder has achieved other significant records along the way, and across 44 matches in all domestic competitions, he has recorded a win rate of 61 percent.
“I believe Al-Jazira and I are a perfect fit as we both possess a strong winning mentality and have massive ambitions to achieve great success,” Keizer added. “We have an exciting challenge ahead to retain the title next season and continue bringing joy to our passionate fans across Abu Dhabi and the UAE. I promise the fans we will continue evolving as a team and we will always give it our best in domestic competitions and the Asian Champions League. I cannot wait to achieve great success in the near future.”
Keizer will now lead Al-Jazira on their quest to defend their title in the 2021-22 season starting from September, and the club will also be representing the UAE in the 2022 AFC Champions League.
After starting his managerial career in 2007 at Dutch club Argon, Keizer went on to manage a number of clubs in his homeland before taking on league-record champions AFC Ajax in 2017.
Following 10 consecutive years at the helm of clubs in the Netherlands, Keizer made his first international move to Al-Jazira, followed by a one-season stint at current Portuguese league champions Sporting Lisbon where he won two domestic cups, before finally returning to Abu Dhabi once again in 2019.