Dubai: Al Nasr coach Dan Petrescu is touting himself for the not yet vacant Romania job, but says the Blue Wave have first say when it comes to his services.
The 49-year-old Romanian’s contract with Al Nasr expires in June and he admits he has been approached to take over the struggling national team, who are currently fourth in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group behind Poland, Montenegro and Denmark under incumbent coach Christoph Daum.
“Everybody knows my contract here finishes in June, and people from Romania have asked if I would consider going there because results are not very good, but I’ve said my priority is with Al Nasr,” he said.
“If Al Nasr want me to stay I’ll stay, if not of course I’ll be interested because I’m a coach and I want to coach, I don’t want to stay home.” Petrescu took over from Ivan Jovanovic at Al Nasr in October while the Blue Wave were ninth in the Arabian Gulf League, they are now sixth with five games remaining - and play third-from-bottom Kalba at home on Friday from 8.45pm - but are unlikely to finish inside the top four.
The Oud Metha club are still in the President’s Cup however, and play Hatta in the semi-final on April 20.
Should they go on to win that competition, qualifying for next year’s Asian Champions League in the process, Petrescu can be assured of a contract extension.
The former Sheffield Wednesday, Chelsea, Bradford and Southampton marauding full-back is regarded as one of Romania’s greatest players and would be a natural candidate for the national team job given his history and the fact he’s won four titles in three countries as a coach.
As a player, Petrescu racked up 12 goals in 95 appearances for The Tricolours between 1989 and 2000, featuring in two World Cups (1994 and 1998) and two European Championships (1996 and 2000).
He was involved in both their best finishes at major tournaments, reaching the quarter-finals at World Cup 1994 and Euro 2000, and is best remembered for rounding Chelsea teammate Graeme Le Saux and nutmegging rival Arsenal keeper David Seaman to beat England 2-1 with a last minute winner in the 1998 World Cup.
That goal saw Romania leapfrog England to win the group and prompted the entire squad to dye their hair blonde, causing havoc for commentators who couldn’t tell them apart.
Conflicting reports say they dyed their hair either; to better tell who was on their side, for luck, or as part of a lost bet with their coach Anghel Iordanescu, who also shaved his head.
Al Nasr play Kalba on Friday in their first game back after a three-week international break.
“It’s going to be a very difficult match for us as we are playing against a team who need three points to avoid relegation,” he said.
Even though Al Nasr are virtually out of top four contention, Petrescu said they wouldn’t be resting players just to concentrate on the cup.
“We have to concentrate on this game because if we start thinking about the cup we’ll lose all games. The next match is always the most important one.”
(5.50 pm) Al Shabab v Hatta
(5.55 pm) Bani Yas x Sharjah
(8.45 pm) Al Nasr v Kalba