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Eriksson to join Al Nasr

Former England manager named Dubai club’s technical director

Image Credit: EPA
Sven Goran Eriksson
Gulf News

Dubai: Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is set to be unveiled as the new technical director of Al Nasr Football Club today, after turning down the chance to manage German side 1860 Munich.

Eriksson, 64, who was in an advisory role with Thai club Tero Sansana last season, will now consult Al Nasr in a similar role, working alongside the Oud Metha club’s current coach, the former Italy goalkeeper, Walter Zenga.

Al Nasr’s media spokesman Mohammad Mubarak confirmed that Eriksson and Al Nasr’s Vice-President Ahmad Al Khouri would officially sign the contract at the club from 6.30pm on Monday.

Club coach Zenga, 52, is thought to have accepted the support on account of his good relationship with the Swede after he played under him for two seasons at Sampdoria in the mid-nineties.

Eriksson was recently linked with Norwegian club Valerenga and the Ukrainian national team, and last Tuesday it was even announced he had agreed terms with Germany’s 1860 Munich. But on Friday it was confirmed he had declined that offer, freeing him up for his new role in Dubai.

A former right-back in the Swedish leagues, most prominently with his hometown team Torsby IF, with whom he earned 109 caps, Eriksson began coaching in 1977 with Degefors IF and IFK Goteburg, before managing the likes of Portugal’s Benfica and Italy’s Roma, Fiorentina and Lazio.

He won three league titles in Benfica and recorded a career best haul of seven trophies while at Lazio, including a Serie A win in 2000 and the Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999.

Eriksson became the first foreigner to manage the England national team in 2001, but left after five years following three consecutive quarter-final defeats at World Cup 2002, 2006 and Euro 2004.

He joined Manchester City the following year, but left at the end of his first season at the club having led them to ninth in the English Premier League, one place from Uefa Cup qualifying.

Since then, he has lived a nomadic lifestyle, managing Mexico, Notts County, the Ivory Coast and Leicester City, before moving to Thailand to help out at Bangkok-based Tero Sansana. All assignments were in quick succession with little success.

Eriksson joins Al Nasr while they are in good form, though, with the Blue Wave currently fifth in the UAE Pro-League, 12 points behind leaders Al Ain after 13 games. In three years under Zenga, the club has enjoyed third and then second-place finishes, with hopes expressed that they would challenge for the title this season. If successful in their search for silverware, it would be the ambitious club’s first league title in 27 years.