venerdì 16 settembre 2011

Not so easy, man!

Diego Maradona and David Trezeguet had their official debut in the UAE football on the first day of Etisalat Cup. And both had a hard impact. Maradona's side scored three times but lost 4-3 to Al Jazira, despite Argentine Mariano Donda's treble. By the way, the Al Jazira's win was uncomfortable, with Al Wasl that showed a fine display, coming from a 3-1 deficit to equalise 3-3. On the other game, Franchman forward had issues in the game. Uzbek midfielder Azizbek Haydarov stole the lights from Trezeguet, scoring twice in a 4-1 Shabab Al Arabi's win over Bani Yas.

giovedì 15 settembre 2011

Pharahos and Bob

How long from where Egypt shocked Italy 1-0 on the 2009 Confederations Cup. Latest Pharahos football version is that of defending champion and seven-time winner that failed to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations after a 2-1 loss in Sierra Leone this Sept. The head coach Hassan Shehata left in June following Egypt's struggles. Under Shehata, Egypt won three successive African Cups, in 2006, 2008, and 2010. At his spot, according to Egyptian state news agency MENA, the Egypt has appointed former USA coach Bob Bradley as the new national team coach. “All is good,” Egyptian Football Association spokesman Azmy Megahed told The Associated Press in Cairo about the deal. The former USMNT head coach is expected to arrive in Cairo on Sunday or Monday. Bradley was one of three candidates on the Egyptian FA shortlist that included Francisco Maturana of Colombia and Zoran Filipovic, the former national coach of Montenegro. Bradley will have to adjust himself to the boisterous post-Mubarak football era. “The Egyptian team is well qualified to be a dangerous opponent, but it only lacks some organisation on the field. The Egyptian player is a talented one unlike the American who depends mainly on his fitness,” Bradley told CNN Arabic last month. Is this a good move? We will see. Egypt is not USA, and Egypt football is different. Bradley will be scrutinized by a large and passionate fan base. He will need to enjoy instant success. Make the 2014 World Cup is the goal and it will be harder in the CAF than in CONCACAF. The Egyptians, out from the next African Cup of Nations, sendend their Olympic team to play the rest of the qualifiers. Bradley will have to take a look to this bunch of youg players in the way to find some talent to install with the big boys.

lunedì 12 settembre 2011

Maradona, press conference

Diego Maradona, head coach of Al Wasl Football Club, held a press conference to discuss club's situation for the upcoming season. About the preseason friendly matches, a 3-1 win over Al Ittihad Kalba and a 2-1 loss against Dibba Fujairah, Maradona pointed out that "the friendly matches were very useful the results were not something that made me very happy." Maradona said to be here at the service of every team player. By the way, Maradona added to think that Al Wasl has a good chance of competing against the best Asian teams. About to improve his team's defense, former Pibe de Oro said that "if it was Mr Maradona who could decide, I would ask the club to bring in 10 defenders to have a better team. But the players we have at the moment are okay." When Gulf News asked Maradona about his unimpressive brief stints with his past clubs, Mandiyu de Corrientes and Racing Club de Allevaneda, Diego said that "they didn't pay me. I was at Mandiyu and they didn't pay me, and Racing, they didn't pay me."

domenica 11 settembre 2011

Misfir is the Katanec's successor

Abdullah Misfir was named UAE's national team coach. He replaces Srecko Katanec, sacked by UAE FA after huge losses against Kuwait and Lebanon in the first two matches of 2014 World Cup Asian qualifying. Coming from Division club Al Orooba as latest coaching job, Misfir is the first Emiratian coach to lead the UAE National Team from Abdullah Saqr in 2001.Misfir was national team coach already in 1999-2000 and he was also an assistant coach under Frenchman Dominique Bathenay in 2005. He will work together with two assistants, Khalifa Mubarak and Hassan Ibrahim. A former coach with Al Arabi club and a former assistant coach to Portugal's Carlos Queiroz during his reign with the national team in the 90's, Misfir will work with an UAE team which is at the bottom of Group B with no points after two games. To revive Emirates hopes, Misfir will have to install new methods. First and foremost, Misfir will have to rise up local football and players professionalism. Katanec paied a high price to the poor fitness shape of his players during the first two matches. The new coach will have to make sure players and club will work better on physical shape. Also, Musfir will have to reinforce his current bunch of players. The come backs of  Ismail Matar,  Hamdan Al Kamali and Omar Abdulrahman could help in this way.

giovedì 8 settembre 2011

Well done, Theo!

Lebanon’s Theo Bucker, 63-year-old, is a happy man, despite a 0-6 defeat in the second round of the Brazil 2014 Asian Qualifiers opener against South Korea. After a 3-1 win over UAE in the second match, he puts Lebanon in an incredible situation, with three points earned after two games in the World Cup qualifying Group B. Bucker, which considers himself a "half-Lebanese", is currently also the coach of league and cup champions Al Ahed. The former Zamalek coach already had a first took to the national team in 2001. He continues the Asian trends to appoint European coaches for the national teams. Lebanon is regarded as the weakest team in the group B and they appeared to struggle, counting on only two professional players in Roda Antar and Youssef Mohammad. There is clearly a lack of talent in Lebanese football. The mission to rise up the Lebanese football level is difficult but Booler started with a victory that his side deserved.

mercoledì 7 settembre 2011

Katanec sacked

Upset, shocked, disappointed...Srecko Katanec's last game as coach of UAE national team will leave no good memories on UAE supporters. The coaching staff was blamed for the defeat and the UAE FA has sacked Slovenian following the team’s humiliating 3-1 loss against Lebanon, which did not win a single match in 2010. Katanec leaves the UAE team at the bottom of Group B. After taking the lead with a a header by Mahmoud Khamis, UAE ceded control of the game to a Lebanese team that came back strongly. After the dismission, Katanec pointed out that national team needs to examine the players' work ethic. In the past days, he scarified the fitness condition of his players, blaming Pro League clubs and saying that players was not ready to play effectually. Katanec leaves with a record of  two wins, four drew and five lost in 11 official matches played. Now, who after Katanec? At the top of the list is Fluminense manager Abel Braga,  UAE Pro-League champion last season with Al Jazira, which told to Brazilian medias to have turned down a big offer made by UAE Football Association about their coaching vacancy. A local option came from Olympic team coach, Mahdi Ali. Another name under consideration is Brazilian Jorvan Vieria, Bani Yas' coach. Some medias suggest Argentine Gabriel Calderon, now unemployed and former Suadi Arabia champions with Al Hilal in 2011. Luiz Felipe Scolari could be another name to don't rule out.

martedì 6 settembre 2011

UAE vs Lebanon preview

The UAE will face Lebanon today in a must-win game for Asian 2014 World Cup qualifiers.The 3-2 defeat at home to Kuwait was a big upset, big enough to raise up rumors about the future of Srecko Katanec as Whites' head coach. The Lebanese, coached by German Theo Bucker, are considered the weakest side in the group, so Katanec's side is expected to have found solutions to beat them. Pressure is high on Slovenian, who was rumoured to have lost the team. Rumors are that UAE made an approach to Abel Braga, after the UAE's loss in Al Ain, to become the Katanc's sub. The Brazilian, former Al Jazira coach, won the UAE Pro League title and President's Cup last season. UAE national team technical director Obaid Mubarak didn't comment upon a bid for Braga but the UAE Technical Committee will meet next Thursday to decide Katanec's future. Coming back to the field, Katanec will have to reconfigure his line up for this match. Central back Hamdan Al Kamali and midfielder Ali Al Wehaibi suffered injuries which will keep them out of the game. Forward Ismail Matar and midfielder Omar Abdulrahman also are out, both recovering from knee injuries. On the left side, Yousuf Jaber and Waleed Abbass will be scrutinized, after the poor performance against Kuwait.

domenica 4 settembre 2011

Parte bene

Era finito nell'occhio del ciclone dopo l'umiliante sconfitta senza appello, 3-0, subita dai rivali del Giappone nell'ultima amichevole giocata fra le due nazionali. Ora, dopo la partenza roboante del girone di qualificazione ai Mondiali del 2014, un secco 6-0 ai danni del Libano, la posizione di Cho Kwang-Rae, tecnico dei Taeguk Warriors, sembra più tranquilla...almeno fino alla prossima partita. Certamente, il Libano non è un banco di prova attendibile. Ma comunque meglio partire con il piede giusto. Cho Kwang-rae ha schierato un 3-4-3 al Goyang Sports Complex con tre europei - il centrocampista del Wolfsburg Koo Ja-cheol, il centrocampista del Valenciennes Nam Tae-hee e l'attaccante del Sunderland Ji Dong-won -  come trio offensivo. Park Chu-young è stato invece utilizzato a centrocampo, da dove è potuto partire per dare supporto all'attacco. La Corea ha giocato bene ed ha mosso bene il pallone. Ora il prossimo test, che sarà più duro: i coreani dovranno infatti affrontare il Kuwait in trasferta, al Peace and Friendship Stadium di Kuwait City. Sotto la guida del serbo Goran Tufegdzic, i Kuwaitiani, reduci dal successo in trasferta contro gli EAU, sono diventati una delle nazionali emergenti del calcio arabo ed hanno in Bader Al Mutwa uno dei migliori attaccanti asiatici.

The day after

UAE 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign started bad after Emirates were beaten 3-2 by Kuwait in Al Ain.  Manager Srecko Katanec's exit talks were dismissed by UAE team manager Ismail Rashid. "I blame the players, they let us down," Al Rumaithi said.  But the performances was the worst possible and the pressure on the Slovenian raised up. The team committed too much errors and the coach was blamed for failing to create a solid defensive play. Also, critics went on Katanec's decision to play with Ahmad Khalil as lone forward and to leave out Ali Mabkhoot e Ahmad Ali. Katanec picked in the second forward, Salem Saleh, only after the Kuwait's second goal and some fans called for manager’s head, as usual in these situations. It's early to ask for the Katanec's dismissions but the Whites might have done better. Katanec's side was trailed by three goals before Ismail Al Hammadi and Ahmed Khalil scored two late goals. As the UAE's manager pointed out, the team didn’t move the ball well and was abused by Kuwait's counterattacks while goalkeeper Majid Nasir avoided a worst score. The attack was nullified by the Kuwaitis back line. Goran Tufegdzic’s side showed to be the strongest gulf football team. Withes wasn't are in good shape with several players missing training past weeks. Ramadan affected the physical condition of the players? Maybe, but it was a problem of Kuwaitis too. The second Group B game with Lebanon, trashed 6-0 by South Korea, is now pivotal: should the UAE fail to return with full points, the continuance of Katanec in charge fo the Whites could be in serious doubt.

venerdì 2 settembre 2011

UAE vs Kuwait preview

Qualification for the 2014 Fifa World Cup through the Asian Football Confederation, involving 20 teams, are ready to start. For UAE's football fans the focus is on Group B, where the Emirates will face Kuwait, Lebanon and South Korea to claim one of the top two spots, essential to progress to the final qualifying round. South Korea is the clear favourite to win this group: the Kwang-Rae's side is one of the best Asian team, despite recent problems due to injures, with Lee Chung-Yong and Son Heung-Min out, and poor performances, as 3-0 loss to rivals Japan showed. With Lebanon on the other side, as the probable weakest team in the group, UAE wil have to fight against Kuwait for the second place behind Taeguk Warriors. Kuwaitis won the Gulf Cup last season, defeating Saudi Arabia in the final but are coming from a bad 2011 Asian Cup. Srecko Katanec made some experiments recently, lining up young forwards Amer Abdulrahman, 22, and Salem Saleh, 20. To get the result they need, Emirates can also count on 20-year-old Ahmed Khalil, that scored twice in the latest friendly-macth against Qatar, and on veteran Subait Khater. The probable starting XI could be a 4-4-2 formation, with Majed Naser as keeper; Khalid Sabeel, Yousuf Jaber, Walid Abbas and Al Kamali on defense; Ali Al Wehaibi, Al Shehhi, Khater and Al Hammadi in midfield, and Abdulrahman and Khalil up front. UAE's job will be hard: in fact, despite several members of Kuwait's team will not be available, Serbian coach Goran Tufegdzic's side has a lot of weapons in its arsenal, starting from Saudi Arabia Ittihad FC's midfielder Fahad Al Enezi. 

giovedì 1 settembre 2011

Thoughts on Michale Bradley's pick

USA'midfielder Michael Bradley was formally introducted on Wednesday by his new team, Serie A'side Chievo Verona. "I will try to give pace to the yellow and blue midfield. And keep it compact," he said. Now that his adventure is started, what about the chances of Bob Bradley's son in the Italian soccer higher level? The young American midfielder gained many fans following a standout performance at 2010 World Cup. A lot has happened since those days and latest performances were bad enough to made Michael dealing with the pressure of the USMNT not performing well in the 2011 Gold Cup. Michael received some criticism from American national team fans in recent times: in Italy, he will have to face no more questions about how a head coach's son get more playing time than he deserves. Bradley has been consistent as holding midfielder but often he was judged based not only on his on field performances. Will Michael Bradley fit in at Chievo? The 24-year-old is famous for his attitude, intensity and ferocity that he shows tackling opponents. In the probable Chievo's 4x3x1x2 formation, Bradley can be lined up in all the four midfield's positions, also as attacking midfielder. Italian football had a trend recent seasons to line up former holding midfielder as attacking midfielder. Playing behind the forwards for Chievo, Bradley could use his strength and speed running at defenders and threatening back lines. Chievo is a team that will fight to avoid relegation but has the men to hit it on the nail. They are not been impressive in the transfer window with no major arrivals but the team's core is good enough to allow the squad to be ready quickly. "I know that I am the third American to get here. I realize how will be difficult to impose. I never failed to follow your football. It's competitive, challenging. And I feel really excited to be able to contend with this new reality. " Much time is passed from Alexi Lalas days...after Oguchi Onyewu, now it's time for Bradley to raise up American flag in Italy soccer.