Al Shabab are expected to unveil the man who almost kept yo-yo club Ittihad Kalba in the Arabian Gulf League, Goran Tufegdzic, when they announce their new coach on Tuesday afternoon.
The Hawks started strongly under Fred Rutten in the opening months of 2016/17, but a terminal decline cost the Dutchman his job in January and then saw them limp home eighth under doomed successor Miroslav Djukic. The Serbian’s appalling record of seven defeats, one win and three draws in all competitions meant his short-term deal was never going to be renewed.
His countrymen should now take the reins for next season. The ex-Kuwait tactician, 45, came within minutes on Saturday of halting a yo-yo run of instant promotion and relegation dating back to 2009/10 for Kalba.
The combination of Nasser Al Shamrani’s late winner for Al Ain on the final day and Emirates Club’s advantage of one away goal in a head-to-head record caused the Tigers to drop down, once again, to First Division League.
Tufegdzic took over from Italian Fabio Viviani in December. He went on to earn 10 of their 19 total points, with wins being recorded against Dibba Al Fujairah and prospective employers Shabab.
Kalba seemed poised to stay up in early March, before a ruinous run of one point from their last five matches dragged them back into Emirates’ reach.
Hasek plays it cool
Joyous Emirates boss Ivan Hasek wants to revel in his club’s miraculous survival rather than jump into a decision about the future.
Hasek, 53, revitalised the floundering Falcons following his December appointment on a five-month contract and helped them to narrowly extend their four-year AGL residency. The ex-Al Ahli and Al Wasl supremo was asked about his plans in the aftermath of the weekend’s 1-0 win against Al Nasr, but declined to state anything definitive.
He said: “Now in this moment, I do not speak. I am happy here and it is one of the most serious clubs in the UAE.
“I am happy to stay. We speak about this in the future.”