Former Al Wasl boss Rodolfo Arruabarrena could return to Zabeel Stadium on Tuesday for their Arabian Gulf Cup game with Shabab Ahli, not to put pressure on the current coach of his old club but rather their opponent’s new manager.
The Argentine has left Qatar’s Al Rayyan after just four wins from the first eight games of the season, and is now on his way back to the UAE — after leaving Al Wasl over the summer — to negotiate a new deal with another Dubai-based club.
Reports suggest Shabab Ahli coach Jose Luis Sierra — who only replaced Mahdi Ali over the summer — could make way for Arruabarrena after the Chilean lost three of his first five league games in charge.
Arruabarrena is now expected to be in the stands for Shabab’s trip to Al Wasl from 7.45pm on Tuesday, but it won’t be to breathe down the neck of his old club’s current coach, and fellow Argentine, Gustavo Quinteros.
Quinteros hasn’t had the greatest of starts either since replacing Arruabarrena at Al Wasl over the summer, with just two wins from the first five games of the season. However, the fact Arruabarrena was let go by Al Wasl at the end of last season makes him unlikely to return there.
His contract wasn’t renewed despite leading the club to a second and third place league finish in two seasons there, he also lost the final of both domestic cup competitions last season.
Instead, the fact that Sierra has been forced to deny any knowledge of his imminent departure from Shabab Ahli in their prematch conference ahead of the Al Wasl trip, makes it odds on that Arruabarrena is about to sign there.
The only other Dubai club that could soon be looking for a manager is Al Nasr after Ivan Jovanovic started the season with four defeats out of five.
Both Shabab Ahli and Al Nasr arrested their decline with league victories over the weekend, but now they must continue the good work in the cup where Shabab Ahli travel to Al Wasl on Tuesday and Al Nasr host Sharjah from 5.10pm on Wednesday.
Ajman vs Al Wahda, 5.10pm
Al Dhafra vs Emirates, 5.20pm
Al Wasl vs Shabab Ahli, 7.45pm
Dibba vs Kalba, 5.05pm
Nasr vs Sharjah, 5.10pm
Al Jazira vs Al Ain, 7.45pm
By Ashley Hammond
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