PLC put budding Emirati officials through their paces

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Budding officials take the PLC course.

Following a large number of applicants to its Match Officials recruitment and training programme, UAE football’s Pro League Committee has completed the second phase of its recruitment and training drive to enlist young Emiratis to participate in match organisation.

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Launched by online submission in February, at the initial stage of application submissions candidates undertook face-to-face interviews over a period of 3 days in Dubai and four days in Abu Dhabi, enabling the PLC team to get acquainted with applicants’ skill sets, qualifications and experience, and assess their suitability to become PLC Match Officials.

The interview process was then rounded off by an evaluation of all the candidates to determine those who would be invited to enroll in the training programme.

The PLC will begin the training sessions on Monday, 27th April, with sessions running in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi until June.

Training will include lectures, practical learning, and site visits to clubs in order to prepare the budding officials for the roles. The course will be concluded with assessment tests to ensure the readiness of the trainees to assume their roles.

Suhail Al Areefi, CEO of the Pro League Committee, stressed that the aim of the initiative is to prepare young, ambitious Emiratis for exciting roles within match organisation to the benefit of UAE football. 

“As directed by the PLC’s Executive Office, we have put the Match Officials training program into place in order to prepare our Emirati talent not only for organising matches in the UAE, but also to achieve the levels of understanding in order to represent the UAE as Match Officials in continental and international competitions,” said Al Areefi.

“We received many submissions from young, driven Emiratis who want to work in match organisation, confirming the interest and passion for sport.

“Through the face-to-face interviews we were able to see the enthusiasm and desire of the candidates to contribute to the development of UAE football, and also their ambition to progress to continental and international levels of match organisation.”

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Zenga: Jazira’s structure all wrong

Walter Zenga 19/04/2015
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Thumping at home: Jazira (r) lost 4-2 to Bani Yas on Friday.

Mabrook and congratulations to new Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain. But we knew this would happen already. For me though, it was second-placed Al Jazira who lost this trophy.

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They had no AFC Champions League to contend with, they were without stress. For Al Ain, they have had to travel for games in that competition. It is very tiring. So in my humble opinion, what has happened in recent weeks is totally inverse. 

When you analyse the standings, Al Ain are clear by 10 points and ahead of second-placed Jazira on goal difference by 23. This is a huge gap between title chasers. Yet, so much was in the Pride of Abu Dhabi’s favour.

Friday night’s 4-2 defeat to Bani Yas was a microcosm of their season. The Sky Blues were very good, but the goals Jazira gave away were so bad. They have the fifth-worst defensive record and that is not good enough for title challengers.

It is so easy to just point the finger at the defence when you are conceding many goals. But it is the complete defensive style of Jazira, their structure and approach which is hurting them.

Throughout the team, they are not contributing to an efficient defensive style. This has contributed to giving Al Ain a simple cycle at the end – they had only one real opponent for the title in Jazira and this made it easy for them.

The Boss have improved an awful lot from last season, when they finished sixth. Their President’s Cup win saved that season, as well as their run to the AFC Champions League semi-finals. 

I still remember my Jazira side’s round of 16 clash with them. At 1-0 ahead for so long during the second leg, anything could have happened.

We have to see whether they can maintain their intensity and concentration for the next month before the next President’s Cup begins. If they don’t, this could provide an opportunity for Jazira and Al Ahli to take that trophy – saving their season in the process. 

Elsewhere, Al Wasl keep drawing games 2-2. The result against Emirates Club added to ones already against Al Shabab and Bani Yas.

You can look at their improvement with a glass half full, or be frustrated at what could have been. They must get back to winning ways soon.

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Gerets not worried about Al Jazira future

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We will be back: Eric Gerets.

Defiant Eric Gerets is convinced he has no worries about his future as Al Jazira boss despite losing the Arabian Gulf League title battle.

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Rivals Al Ain were crowned champions on Friday night with three games remaining after the Pride of Abu Dhabi were thumped 4-2 at home by struggling Bani Yas.

The chastening loss – their second in a row – saw the fight at the top come to a premature end, second-placed Jazira now trailing by 10 points with only nine to play for.

Gerets was headhunted on a two-year contract from Lekhwiya last summer with a reputation firmly established as one of the finest coaches operating in the Middle East.

But a debut campaign of relative failure could put him on dangerous ground, his current employers hiring six coaches in the last three years.

When asked whether the failure to add to the top-flight crowns earned at the Qatar giants and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal had him concerned about his position, the straight-talking former Belgium defender replied: “When you are 60 years old and had the life I have had as a coach, I am not worried any more.

“This is because I think that there will be an end to this period and the team will be stronger again. Maybe not strong enough to win the title and President’s Cup [this season], but stronger again.

“That is my job. Of course I am worried, I am worried because we lost a stupid game. Worried about what will happen? Yes, to make my team better.

“But my job? I think there is no need now because my relationship with the people at the top of this team is good.”

The post-AGL President’s Cup is the main source of redemption left for Gerets during a campaign which also featured a disappointing AFC Champions League play-off round reversal to Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor.

His side have been characterised by haphazard defending throughout, their 39 goals conceded in the AGL giving them the fifth-worst record.

Without specifying any areas, Gerets declared talks had already begun with the club’s hierarchy to improve any weaknesses next term.

He said: “What we need in the team for the next season, the Sheikh [Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan] knows it already.

“It is clear for him and me what we need for next season. Hopefully, we are able to do those things we have in our mind.”

He added: “Even if we buy five players, you are not sure to win the title. OK, I was champion in Qatar and my ex-team [Lekhwiya] won it again this season. But they are not certain to be champions next season.

“[In the UAE] Al Ain will again be fighting to remain champions, Al Ahli will have a better team, Al Wahda will be there, Al Shabab have been close for a couple of seasons and we also want to win the title.

“Even if we do the things in our minds with the management to be stronger next season, we are not sure. But one thing is sure, we will be damn close next season to winning the title.”

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