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Sure Sign of UAE’s Autumn: Falling Coaches

November 9th, 2013 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Arabian Gulf League, Football, Pro League, soccer

November is deep into Fall, in most of the northern hemisphere. Though it is a bit hard to tell, here in the UAE, where really only two seasons exist. Summer, and Not Summer.

The first runs from May through October, though often it begins more in April and extends into November.

Not Summer is the temperate period from, say, mid-November until mid-April. Five months, maybe.

Fall? It exists in theory. I suppose the equinox gives it more official standing.

But we would think about it even less than we do, given that no leaves are falling, here in the UAE (deciduous trees? Ha!) … if it were not for a particularly dependable sign of this time of the year.

The regular sacking of local soccer league coaches.

Today, Al Wahda dumped their Czech coach Karel Jarolim, with more than three-quarters of the Arabian Gulf League (nee Pro League) season still to play.

It is exactly the sort of rash act that reminds us, “Ah, it’s UAE in November.”

That makes for five coaches already fired. In a league of 14 teams. After six games on a 26-game league schedule.

As always, you can only hope coaches who come over here have the wit to rent, not buy. Because those two-year contracts? Hardly anyone is going to be around for even most of that and, as I understand it, most contracts are not guaranteed. That is, the coach doesn’t get paid for the part of the contract not served.

Wahda’s coach apparently “has not been able to motivate the players”, so he clearly had to go.

The first coach fired this season went down back on September 14, even before the first game of the season was played.

Jorge Fossati had the temerity to install a formation other than the 4-4-2 that Al Ain players, fans and officials apparently prefer, so he had to go.

He had lasted 49 days and had coached one game, the Super Cup, pitting the previous season’s league and league cup champions.

Befitting the reduced temps, the pace of firings has picked up.

In the past couple of weeks, Dubai dumped their Swiss coach, Martin Rueda, last week, and Al Jazira got rid of their Spaniard, Luis Milla (not even his Barcelona and Real Madrid bacground could save him), and a bit before that Al Wasl fired their French coach, Laurent Banide.

It’s not possible to find a common thread in the firings. Various tactics, different personalities (Milla ultra-cool; Banide seemingly always angry), various backgrounds (Milla had never before coached a senior team; Fossati has coached everywhere.)

OK, a common thread: Team officials are extremely sensitive to their fans’ reactions, and if the crowd turns against a coach, he can count his days on the job in hours, not months.

As we head towards winter (at least, where temps plunge all the way into the upper 70s), we can expect more heads to roll.

Of the 14 coaches who started … I’m going to set the over-under on guys who make it to the end of the season at … 2.5.

Happens every year. Swallows to Capistrano; UAE coaches to the unemployment line.


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