Tite credits UAE spell for Brazil success and bright future

Tite had two spells coaching in the UAE before finding success in Brazil. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2018
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Tite credits UAE spell for Brazil success and bright future

  • From Al-Wahda to the World Cup, Brazil coach Tite’s journey to reach Friday’s quarterfinal against Belgium has taken him a curious route
  • Tite was afforded just five months in charge of the UAE club Al-Ain

KAZAN: From Al-Wahda to the World Cup, Brazil coach Tite’s journey to reach Friday’s quarterfinal against Belgium has taken him a curious route involving not one but two short spells in the United Arab Emirates. Short but significant, according to the 57-year-old.
It was a typically muggy summer afternoon in 2007 when Adenor Leonardo Bacchi first arrived in the Middle East. Contracted by Al-Ain, Tite had never coached outside his home country and was excited by the prospect of learning outside his comfort zone and evolving, a characteristic that has stuck with him throughout his career — before taking the reins of the Selecao in June 2016, he spent a year traveling around Europe shadowing the likes of Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti.
Tite was afforded just five months in charge of the UAE club, finishing with a record of 13 wins and six draws from 25 games before being dismissed.

 

Yet while it might seem like a blip or blemish on an otherwise impressive resume that includes, while with Corinthians, two Serie A championships, a Copa Libertadores title, and victory in the 2012 Club World Cup final against Chelsea, he regards it as a crucial period of his career.
“I am very grateful to (Mohammed) Khalfan (Al-Rumaithi), who was the director at Al-Ain,” he said ahead of today’s crunch quarterfinal in Kazan. “He allowed me to develop my work and to put into practice some ideas that were very important to me as a form of growth.
“I developed a lot of my theory with Al-Ain, exercising two lines of four with two attackers, trying different positions and functions that would maybe play out, fluctuations that happen during games, compacting the play.”
Although his time in the Garden City was cut short after a run of defeats that included elimination from the UAE President’s Cup, he would return to the region three and a half years later, this time at Al-Wahda. His second spell in the Gulf would prove even shorter, lasting just 50 days, but the reason for his departure was more favorable — he had been offered the chance to return to Brazilian giants Corinthians.

 

 Although Tite initially rejected the offer from the Sao Paulo club’s then-president Andrés Sánchez, after two weeks of persistent calls he finally accepted. It would prove a life-changing decision as he led Corinthians to domestic, continental and global success before being offered the national team job.
Ayman Khalil Mohammed, who has worked with Al-Wahda since 2003, remembers a driven coach with big ambitions and who remained undefeated during his spell in the UAE capital.
“Tite was only here for a short period, but he achieved positive results with us and we wanted him to continue,” said Mohammed.
“He received an attractive offer from Corinthians and apologized for not continuing with us. We were sad to lose him, but all understood and are certainly supporting him this month. We all want him to win the World Cup because he deserves it. He’s an excellent coach and I am very lucky to have worked with him. He deserves a lot of respect.”
It was not only tactical knowledge that Tite acquired during his days in Abu Dhabi. He also learnt a few words in Arabic, his most commonly used phrase being “mashi al koora,” which translates roughly as an order to always be touching the ball, keeping it moving, not letting it settle.
“I also got to know a different culture and understand better the level of difficulty involved in working with an interpreter,” Tite said. “This all helped me a lot and strengthened me as a coach. It was a big challenge, man, and I’m very grateful for it.”

ARAB NEWS PREDICTION: Brazil to win 3-2 — For all the trouble Belgium can cause Brazil, we cannot see the favorites losing this. Has potential to be a classic, but the Samba stars will shade it.

Decoder

KEY MEN

Paulinho vs Kevin de Bruyne — The brilliant Belgian has yet to hit top form in Russia. If he can find space then Brazil’s dogged defense could be in for a long night. Paulinho has been one of the South Americans’ best players so far and it will be his task to shut down any Belgium attack early.

FASTFACTS

SUMMARY

Brazil have got this far without ever having to go into fifth gear — they have sauntered to the last-eight. Belgium will provide the Samba stars with their toughest test yet. But as good as Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are, can they breach a defence that has looked as solid as they come?


Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

Updated 23 January 2019
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Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

  • Can the mighty minnows continue impressive run in the UAE?
  • Or will the big guns start to fire in quarterfinals?

LONDON: Asia’s biggest sporting spectacle has reached its quarterfinal stage — and it’s time for teams to find their A-game. While there are few surprises in the last-eight lineup, the form of some of the big-name sides has been less than impressive. Here we deliver our verdict on the second round.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — Saudi Arabia’s attack

The Green Falcons started the tournament at top speed. They came in as one of the cup favorites and in their opening two matches illustrated why. A 4-0 thrashing of North Korea was backed up with a relatively simple 2-0 victory over Lebanon. Understandably, that raised hopes that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men could go all the way in the UAE. Alas, it was not to be as a 2-0 defeat to Qatar in their last group clash left them with a tricky tie against Japan. For all their efforts Saudi Arabia were unable to find the back of the net, the lack of firepower upfront costing Pizzi’s team yet again.



BIGGEST SHOCK — South Korean sloppiness

Boosted by the arrival of Tottenham star Son Heung-Min, South Korea were rightly declared the pre-tournament favorites. They had firepower up front, intelligence and creativity in midfield, and experience at the back. In the four matches in the UAE so far, however, they have looked anything but potential champions. They labored to beat Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and China in the group stage before almost being shocked by part-timers Bahrain in the second round. South Korea now face Qatar in the last eight and, as Son said after their extra-time win over Bahrain, they need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a shock exit before the semis.



UNDER PRESSURE — Alberto Zaccheroni and the UAE



The Whites owe their place in the last eight to luck more than skill. In some ways that is not a surprise — the hosts came into the tournament without their talisman, the injured Omar Abdulrahman, and on the back of a patchy run of form. But, still, the performances on home soil have been underwhelming to say the least. That was summed up with their extra-time win over Kyrgyzstan, who were playing in their first Asian Cup. It was a far-from-convincing performance and Central Asians were unlucky not to beat Zaccheroni’s side. The UAE will have to deliver their best performance for some time if they are to progress further. Their opponents, Australia, have also performed poorly, which may offer them some encouragement.



BEST HIGHLIGHT — The mighty minnows

The big guns have not had it all their own way. That may annoy their fans, but it does show that Asian football is improving. Only a few years ago the idea that Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan would look the equals of Australia and Co. would have seemed fanciful. But in the past two weeks the standard shown by the so-called lesser lights has been impressive — and great to watch. Last summer five Asian teams appeared at the World Cup for the first time and it was hoped that showing would act as a springboard for further progress across the continent. On the evidence of the action in the UAE that wish could be coming true.

 

PREDICTIONS