Edgar Bruno says Al Shabab’s new manager Caio Junior can bring stability

Bruno is eager to draw a line under the frustration and instead is looking forward to what he hopes will be a prosperous period, writes John McAuley.
Edgar Bruno, left, and his Al Shabab teammates did not advance to a final last year. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Edgar Bruno, left, and his Al Shabab teammates did not advance to a final last year. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // Edgar Bruno insists Al Shabab are determined to put last season’s ultimately disappointing campaign behind them as they seek an improvement under new coach Caio Junior.

The Dubai club represented Al Ahli’s closest challengers for the majority of the 2013/14 Arabian Gulf League title race, only to stumble down the stretch. Shabab scraped two points from their final six matches to slide down the table and eventually finish fourth.

The sequence prompted Marcos Paqueta, the respected Brazilian, to step down as Shabab manager, despite having signed an extension to his contract in April. Junior, another Brazilian, who in 2012 guided Al Jazira to President’s Cup success, was installed last month.

Bruno spent the past week getting to know Junior, as the club returned to pre-season training on Wednesday night. Last season’s wounds have taken time to heal, though, especially since Shabab failed to reach a final for the first time in seven years. The semi-final defeat in the Gulf Clubs Championship, to Omani side Saham, particularly rankled.

Read more: Caio Junior returns to Arabian Gulf League to make Al Shabab ‘champion’

Bruno is eager to draw a line under the frustration and instead is looking forward to what he hopes will be a prosperous period.

“It was not a positive conclusion to last season, as we missed an opportunity to stay in second, just behind Ahli, and retreated to fourth,” he told Arabic media.

“It was a bitter and harsh finish, and we did not deserve to end the season in that image and with that outcome.

“But what happened is in the past, and we need to learn a lot from that lesson. We’re striving to overcome the mistakes that led to the disappointing end. We have a new coach and more positive aspirations, and we’re confident they are in the best interests of the team. Our role as players is to apply his instructions and make the effort to achieve positive results.”

Although Paqueta has departed, Bruno believes the relative continuity within the club should help Shabab’s quest to again challenge for trophies.

The Rashid bin Maktoum Stadium side have retained three of their foreign contingent, with Bruno, Carlos Villanueva and Azizbek Haydarov kept on. Adeilson, the forward who joined last summer, will be allowed to leave, with Shabab still seeking his replacement.

“Stability is one of the positive factors in football, and every one of the players has to do what he can, not for personal goal, but for the team,” said Bruno, who has 29 goals in 45 league matches for the club. “We must always make sure Shabab gets the three points.

“The club management and coach decided to continue with the same team, including the trio of foreign players, and we promise to do all we can in the season so Shabab will always be in the best position.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: July 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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