Deflated coach Henk ten Cate has declared he is going to have a “good talk about my future” during the coming days and intimated about the widely-rumoured internal discord at fallen top-flight kings Al Jazira, in the wake of a 2-0 Year of Zayed Arabian Gulf Super Cup loss to Al Wahda.
Ten Cate, 63, has performed miracles since he joined the then-relegation-threatened Pride of Abu Dhabi in December 2015. A first President’s Cup since 2011/12 was delivered at the end of that season, this being followed up by a record-breaking run to the 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League’s title.
But this term has been detailed by reported problems within the club, evidenced, in part, by the bitter contractual dispute which last week saw UAE hot shot Ahmed Khalil exit to rivals Al Ain on a free transfer six months since his heralded recruitment.
When quizzed about the reasons behind Saturday night’s chastening reversal, the ex-Barcelona and Chelsea assistant replied: “It is difficult to speak.
“I am not the person to speak about this. But it is like asking a question you already know.
“I smile again. But I cannot continue saying these things.
“It’s like a gramophone, the needle sticks in one place.
“It is the same story, over and over again. I am really serious now.
“I am going to have a good talk about my future.”
This response followed an initial benign probing into the result. This delivered an excoriating – and scarcely disguised – response.
He said: “Do you have a week? It is up to them now.
“The lack of communication to the public creates wrong expectations, this is what happened. This is not for me to say.
“It is not my job to talk about it. I said so many times that things are beyond my reach, beyond my control – I said this a lot of times.”
Jazira are a distant fifth in the AGL, 11 points off the pace. They are next scheduled to host minnows Dibba Al Fujairah on Wednesday.
Al Wahda can cherish the season’s first silverware.
A third Year of Zayed Arabian Gulf Super Cup – much delayed and rearranged – fell into their hands. An awful pass from Al Jazira left-back Salim Rashid led to Moroccan forward Mourad Batna’s early opener, UAE goalkeeper Ali Khaseif’s sloppy clearance and subsequent felling of veteran Ismail Matar allowing Hungary star Balazs Dzsudzsak to riotously lash home a penalty just before the hour mark.
On balance, the President’s Cup holders just about deserved to see off their Arabian Gulf League-winning nemesis from Abu Dhabi. This success inside a boisterous Bani Yas Stadium – electrified by more than 8,000 vocal fans – did not come from a contest of great entertainment.
It was a tense one in which their opponents could not repair self-inflicted wounds. A story supposedly consigned to a previous era for Henk ten Cate’s men.
Their descent from going toe-to-toe with Real Madrid in last month’s Club World Cup continues. That’s only two wins in seven subsequent matches.
In contrast, something special is building for the Clarets. They will hope this success energises a charge for further domestic glory – only two points separates them from top-flight leaders Al Ain.
After all the pageantry of the pre-match ceremony, Jazira came close to the perfect start. UAE prospect Mohamed Al Shamsi was alert to palm away a stinging drive from Brazilian forward Romarinho before 30 seconds had ticked by.
Laurentiu Reghecampf’s Wahda machine did not panic, in a clash traditionally held at season’s start.
The Romanian’s high press gained reward when Rashid passed into danger from the edge of his own box on 21 minutes. Tagliabue smelled a chance and cannoned a shot onto the base of the post with Khaseif beaten, Batna racing in to slot home a sixth goal in 19 appearances since his profitable summer switch from FUS Rabat.
The flow of this gripping match did not alter, midfield battles being won and lost with frequency.
It was left to Jazira to blink again after the interval. Khaseif chipped up a poor kick, inflicting more damage by chopping down Matar – whose shot hit the post.
Referee Sultan Abdurazzaq went back for the penalty. Dzsudzsak subsequently converted it and slid in celebration towards the ecstatic Clarets faithful.
Jazira could not be roused from this second, mortal blow. The capital is Wahda’s, for now.
Dubai club Al Nasr on Friday sacked Italian coach Cesare Prandelli amid a disappointing season, reinstating Serb Ivan Jovanovic who was previously in charge from 2013 to 2016.
“Al Nasr football company has decided to relieve Italian Cesare Prandelli from the post of technical director,” read a tweet from the club in the wake of a defeat in the President’s Cup on Wednesday.
Jovanovic, who helped the team become UAE league champions in 2015, is to succeed Prandelli, a second tweet said, accompanied by a photo of the Serbian coach.
Prandelli coached Italy to the final of Euro 2012 but left after their group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup. He then had spells at Galatasaray and Valencia before moving to Al Nasr last year.
شركة النصر لكرة القدم تُعلن تعيين الصربي إيفان يوفانوفيتش مُديراً فنياً للفريق الأول لكرة القدم خلفاً للإيطالي تشيزاري برانديلي. pic.twitter.com/G1VuwWa3kP
— AL NASR FC (@ALNasrSC) January 19, 2018