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

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.



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.



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?

Kyrgios withdraws from French Open, citing illness

Updated 24 May 2019

Kyrgios withdraws from French Open, citing illness

  • Roger Federer plays down chances of his winning the mega title

PARIS: After a tantrum in Italy last week, Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday.

The ATP said the Australian player cited illness as the reason.

Last week at the Italian Open, the 36th-ranked Kyrgios was defaulted and fined during his second-round match after an outburst of rage. Trailing against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud, Kyrgios slammed his racket to the clay and kicked a water bottle. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court.

Kyrgios was fined and lost ATP points but escaped suspension and was expected to play in Paris.

His withdrawal came only days after Kyrgios posted a video online in which he said the French Open “sucks” when compared to Wimbledon, where he trained recently.

In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.

Also on Friday, Roger Federer played down his chances of winning the French Open on his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, saying that title-winning form might not be “in his racquet.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion missed the French Open in 2016 through injury before sitting out the next two clay-court seasons in order to focus on Wimbledon.

But he will make his Roland Garros return on Sunday with a first-round tie against unheralded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Federer admitted that he is unsure of his title chances, but did compare his current situation with when he ended a five-year Grand Slam drought at the Australian Open in 2017.

“(I) don’t know (if I can win the tournament). A bit of a question mark for me. Some ways I feel similar to maybe the Australian Open in ‘17,” the 2009 French Open winner said.

“A bit of the unknown. I feel like I’m playing good tennis, but is it enough against the absolute top guys when it really comes to the crunch? I’m not sure if it’s in my racquet.

“But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys. But first I need to get there and I know that’s a challenge in itself.”

Despite being the third seed, Federer faces a tricky draw, with a possible quarter-final against Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas — who beat him in the Australian Open last 16 — and a potential last-four clash with 11-time champion and old adversary Rafael Nadal.

Meanwhile, Nadal said on Friday that he “doesn’t care” if he is the red-hot favorite to lift a record-extending 12th French Open title, insisting that there are a host of players in contention for the trophy.

The world number two holds an incredible French Open win-loss record of 86-2, and hit top form by winning his ninth Italian Open last week with a final victory over old rival Novak Djokovic.