Former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu appointed new coach of Al Wahda reserves

Denzil Pinto 21/07/2018
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Heading to the UAE: Adrian Mutu

Al Wahda have pulled off a major coup by announcing former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu as the new coach of their reserve team.

Mutu, 39, moves to Al Nahyan Stadium on a two-year deal according to reports.

“Al Wahda football club announce the contract with the Romanian coach Adrian Mutu with the 39-year-old to take over the training of the reserve team,” said a club statement.

“Mutu is a great addition to the team. His football record includes many team achievements and numbers. He has already represented the Romanian team and a number of European clubs as a football player.”

Mutu arrives in the capital to link up with compatriot Laurentiu Reghecamp, who took over the Clarets from Javier Aguirre last term.

Mutu’s last and only managerial appointment to date was a brief and unsuccessful coaching stint with Romanian top-flight club FC Voluntari where he won just three of his eight games in charge.

The former Fiorentina forward only took over in April having been general manager of FC Dinamo until October 2017 and then sports director of the Romanian Football Federation.

He will be hoping for much better fortunes in the UAE when he takes charge of an Al Wahda reserves side who will be aiming to reclaim their Arabian Gulf League reserves title after finishing runners-up to Al Nasr by four points last season.

Al Wahda open their league campaign with a visit to Dibba Al Fujairah on September 1.

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AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers initiative set to unite communities

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‘Sign-up, inspire your community and be part of the UAE’s most expansive and most exciting sporting event’.

That is the compelling call to action from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the launch of a new far-reaching tournament initiative, known as the ‘AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers’ programme.

Over the next few months the LOC is seeking to recruit 100 enthusiastic community ambassadors to deliver the message of the approaching tournament.

Known as ‘Playmakers’ after the important role of midfield players who act as the engines for their team, distributing and setting others up for success, the 100-strong group will share the tournament’s vision of ‘Bringing Asia Together’ and by doing so help to deliver the most accessible, connected and successful AFC Asian Cup in history.

Open now to candidates by contacting [email protected], the initiative is seeking the most social, passionate and influential people residing in the UAE from each of the 24 competing nations to officially sign-up and play a pivotal role as honorary envoys.

‘PLAYMAKERS’ TO UNITE COMMUNITIES FOR AFC ASIAN CUP UAE 2019 (3)

Amongst the first Playmakers to be recruited are: Emirati ex-professional footballer Ahmed Al Balooshi, Jessica Cullen, a prodigious 15 years-old Australian footballer, and Japanese superfan Shinya Nakamura, demonstrating the variety of international fans and opportunities that exist for all members of society.

Speaking on the launch of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Playmakers programme, AFC Asian 2019 UAE LOC, His Excellency Aref Hamed Al Awani, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee said: “Football is the game of the people and the heart of our tournament flows through the communities. That is why we want to reach out to the people of the UAE and provide an opportunity for the most patriotic fans of each nation to get involved in this unique sporting occasion.”

“We have the chance to do something special, but we need those special individuals who can inspire and help connect others. Just like the players on the pitch, only when we are all truly connected can we make the plays which make history.”

An expanded tournament format for AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will witness the best 24 national teams from Asia, making it the largest AFC Asian Cup to ever be staged and the biggest sporting event hosted in the UAE.

51 matches will be played between 5 January and 1 February 2019, spread across 8 stadiums located in 4 cities across 3 Emirates.

H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani

Al Awani continued: “AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect our nation through the beautiful game. The UAE is home to over 6 million people who are from the nations competing in the tournament. That’s who we want to reach through our Playmakers.”

“By igniting the national pride that lives inside these fans every team can feel they’re playing at home. Every team can have a passionate 12th man.”

Already the positive response to the Playmakers concept has been overwhelming. 20 Embassies and Business Councils representing their communities here in the UAE have confirmed their interest in participating and helping communicate tournament news, offers and developments.

Starting today, fans who want to go beyond being spectators can register interest by contacting [email protected].

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University students chosen for 2019 Asian Cup 'Home Team' to spread football fever across the UAE

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Inspiring talk: The Home Members at Zayed Sports City's dressing room

The dreams of a group of talented university students from across the UAE came true today, as they were selected for the starting lineup of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Local Organising Committee’s “Home Team”.

After a long selection process, the successful students anticipated a day of formal briefings and orientation at the AFC Asian Cup offices before embarking on their three-month internship programme. But after being shuttled only a short distance away, they found themselves on the pitch of the famous stadium, where they were joined by Dubai Eye’s leading host of Sport Tonight, Chris McHardy.

McHardy led the delighted students through to the stadium changing rooms, where Home Team kits had been prepared, before launching into an impassioned team talk about each player’s responsibilities in “Bringing Asia Together” over the coming months.

For these aspiring young professionals, it was an unconventional start to a programme which will see them play an important role in raising awareness for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 to the different communities. With wide-ranging and comprehensive responsibilities, the team will contribute to the pre-tournament build up by promoting the tournament to businesses, schools and communities.

Aref Hamed Al Awani, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee, said: “Because of the immense scale involved in hosting an event like the AFC Asian Cup, we need a diverse group of dedicated, energetic youth on the ground, who can bring the spirit of the tournament directly into the heart of all communities across the UAE.

“We have the potential in the UAE for this competition to feel like a ‘home’ tournament for every nation if we can get communities to rally behind their teams and our AFC Home Team will seek to do just that, by meeting face-to-face and sharing their passion for football.”

Home Team member Mariam Taha from Al Ain, added: “It’s amazing. For the first day of my internship, I was not expecting to find myself on the pitch of Zayed Sports City. With Chris acting as manager and outlining everyone’s roles, I think we all became really excited about the road ahead. He told me Abu Dhabi is my pitch and that it was up to me to unite the communities in the capital behind this great tournament. I’ve got lots to do and I can’t wait to get started. I’m proud and excited.”

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