Jorginho: ‘I can return Al Wasl to glory days’

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Ushered in: Jorginho will officially begin working as Al Wasl coach on June 20.

Incoming Al Wasl coach Jorginho is confident he can bring success to the Zabeel Stadium.

The 49-year-old World Cup winner was unveiled by the club on Sunday evening and will officially start work on June 20, having agreed a one-year deal last Wednesday.

Jorginho takes over permanent control of the struggling Arabian Gulf League side from Hector Cuper, who was relieved of his duties last month having overseen just four wins in 16 games in all competitions.

Wasl currently sit one place above the relegation zone in 12th, although they hold a seven-point advantage over second-bottom Dubai with just three games to go.

Salem Abdulrahman, who has been in temporary charge since Cuper’s departure, will continue in that role until the end of the season.

“I’ve been watching recent matches of Al Wasl and I think that the players should be performing a lot better,” Jorginho said. “I hope to have sufficient time to iron out these mistakes and I hope that, with the right chemistry between myself and the club’s management, we can get the club back on the right track.”

Indeed, the Brazilian – who played every game as his country won the 1994 World Cup – revealed a desire to emulate the success of compatriot Ze Mario, who guided Wasl to the league and President’s Cup double in 2007.

“I have had a lot of feedback about the football here, especially from Ze Mario, who gave me good information about the UAE and the club,” Jorginho added. “I’m very happy to join Al Wasl.

"First, I need a chance to arrange the team and then let’s see what will happen in the future. I thank the board for giving me this opportunity, and I will perform to prove their confidence in me was justified.”

Jorginho will become Wasl’s 13th coach since they last lifted the league title seven years ago when he officially assumes his role at the Zabeel Stadium this summer.

The former Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Flamengo defender has been out of work since leaving Sao Paulo club Ponte Preto, who he led to the final of the Copa Sudemericana but were also relegated from the Brazilian Serie A.

The 49-year-old, who has played for and coached Kashima Antlers, revealed he had turned down offers in Japan to make the move to Dubai.

Wasl had been keen to appoint a Brazilian, with Jorginho becoming the 11th coach from the South American country to take control of the club.

“We had a shortlist in which we had looked here and there for a manager,” Wasl team manager, Majed Abdullah said. “But we decided on Jorginho because we have had a good chemistry with Brazilian coaches in the past.

“We hope to continue that.”

Jorginho’s first assignment as coach will be a two-week training camp in Germany, starting on August 3.

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Ahli title celebrations muted amid calls for focus

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Reasons to cheer: Al Ahli won this year's AGL at a canter.

Al Ahli already have their hands on the Arabian Gulf League title but the Dubai club are fully aware there is plenty of work to be done before they can really enjoy that success.

The Red Knights were forced to come from a goal down against Al Wasl on Thursday night, but second-half strikes from Ahmed Khalil and substitute Grafite ensured a sixth championship.

Victory also gave coach Cosmin Olaroiu an incredible third league title in as many years in the UAE, following his back-to-back successes with Al Ain in 2012 and 2013.

However, neither the Romanian nor his coaching staff will have partied too long into the Dubai night. The Red Knights might have sewn up the league but they are still fighting on three other fronts.

Ahli have a pivotal AFC Champions League Group D clash with Al Hilal to prepare for on Tuesday, while they face Al Jazira in the final of the Arabian Gulf Cup four days later. And come the end of that game at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium they will hope to still be in the hunt for a domestic treble, with the President’s Cup final against Al Ain to come on May 18.

“We have not finished the season yet,” assistant coach Catalin Raducan said.

“We have to prove our character for all of the season and it is very difficult. We still have three rounds in the league plus the AFC Champions League.

“The holiday for us will only begin after May 18, after our game with Al Ain in the final of the President’s Cup.”

Olaroiu was seen being hoisted by his players on the Rashid Stadium pitch on Friday night, but it seems the mood was a little more serious back in the changing room.

“The coach congratulated the players and assured them that this is not the end of the season,” Raducan added. “We have a lot of work ahead of us in different tournaments.”

Olaroiu has now done what no other coach has been able to in UAE football history – win three league titles in a row.

When the Romanian headed to Dubai in the summer, there were many who felt Ahli would have been better served sticking with incumbent Quique Sanchez Flores.

However, in the past season Olaroiu has proved himself adept at dragging an extra ounce out of his players.

Speaking to a member of the club’s back room staff ahead of last week’s game at Jazira, they revealed there had been a new intensity to everything the club had done this season.

Ultimately, that is down to Olaroiu’s coaching staff who, bar Fabio Cannavaro, made the trip from Al Ain too.

“Victory is for all members of the coaching staff,” Raducan said. “We work together and the result is the fruits of all the effort, and that which we all feel happy about.”

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Nasr comeback downs Shabab in ugly affair

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Thumbs up: Ibrahima Toure (l) had a mixed night.

Ibrahima Toure scored the winner before being sent off as Al Nasr came from behind to beat second-placed Al Shabab 2-1 as both sides finished the match with 10-men in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) yesterday.

Edgar Bruno Da Silva had given the visitors the lead in the 25th minute but Habib Al Farden (44) and Toure (79) scored the goals for Al Nasr, who now sit in fifth position with 38 points.

Following a melee with 10 minutes remaining, Toure and Haydarov Azizbek were given their marching orders by the referee.

Al Shabab remain in second place despite the loss, 15 points behind champions Al Ahli.

With both teams lacking the firing edge in the opening stages of the match, the first real opportunity came in the 20th minute as Mahmoud Khamis had the first shot on target.

Five minutes later, Bruno’s chip was deflected off Helal Saeed with Ahmad Shambieh unable to clearthe ball.

The home side went into the second half on level terms as Al Fardan was first to react following Ismail Rabee’s save from Khamis’ free-kick.

After Al Fardan had a goal ruled out for offside, Toure tapped in Alhusain Saleh’s cross in what proved to be the final goal.

Elsewhere yesterday, Sharjah reduced the gap on Al Shabab with a 3-1 win over Bani Yas.

Yousif Saeed Juma scored a brace with Jose Carlos Ferreira also on the scoresheet for the visitors, who are now three points behind Al Shabab.

Fawaz Awana Al Musaibi found his side’s only goal of the game and Bani Yas remain in ninth position with 30 points.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Tagliabue scored all four goals as Al Wahda thrashed Ajman 4-1 to remain behind Sharjah on goal-difference.

Tagliabue got his hat-trick in the 65th minute and got his fourth after Bakari Kone replied for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Al Dhafra earned a 5-1 away win at Dubai.

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