Al Jazira’s avowed faith in Dutch football has continued with the appointment of their fourth-successive coach from the country in Jurgen Streppel.
Streppel, 49, has inked a one-year extendable contract with the 2018/19 Arabian Gulf League’s fifth-placed side and will join up with his new employers in the capital next month, before a three-week training camp in the Netherlands. He has replaced compatriot Damien Hertog in the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium’s hot seat.
The new incumbent finished an unremarkable seventh in last term’s Cypriot First Division with Anorthosis Famagusta. But he eased €75 million Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong into the first team at Willem II from 2011-16 and subsequently worked with Real Madrid wonder kid Martin Odegaard at Heerenveen, with this track record of developing youngsters providing appeal.
CEO Ayed Mabkhout said: “We have decided to continue relying on the Dutch football school because we wanted to strengthen the technical stability of the team. During the last few years, the Dutch philosophy has proved that it suits our players in the first team and academy.
“It has also proved to be successful as the team performance has developed significantly and that more players from Al Jazira have been joining the UAE national teams.
“Streppel has all the qualities it takes to manage the first team during the next season and we are confident that he can help our players to be better, on and off the field.”
Streppel will look to continue the fine work of countrymen Marcel Keizer and Henk ten Cate.
Veteran Ten Cate, 64, eased shock relegation worries upon arrival in December 2015, won that campaign’s President’s Cup and staggeringly claimed the 2016/17 AGL crown.
Successor Keizer, 50, impressed so much that Portuguese heavyweights Sporting Lisbon poached him during November 2018, after only five months at the helm.
Hertog, 45, was promoted from caretaker last December. But a failure to make the 2020 AFC Champions League meant change was sought.
An unremarkable playing career as an attacking midfielder for Streppel ended in 2005, at Helmond Sport. He then worked his way up to head coach at the Eerste Divisie-outfit three years later.
Significant churn to the four-player foreign quota and the loss of key midfielder Mohamed Jamal now present early challenges.
A familiar face, however, will be present at neighbours Al Wahda. They hired Maurice Steijn from VVV-Venlo earlier this month.
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