ABU DHABI // He may be leaving Al Wahda just days after guiding them to the President's Cup, but Javier Aguirre has no bitterness about his departure from the Arabian Gulf League side and said he was "humbled" by a final act made to him by the club yesterday.
The Mexican, who will be replaced by Laurentiu Reghecampf, was given the chance to say a public farewell by the Abu Dhabi club as they held a news conference Sunday to say goodbye to him and acknowledge his two seasons in charge.
“It’s not normal for a club to host a farewell reception for a manager with the media invited,” said Aguirre. “I’m humbled by this gesture. I’m taking with me a lot of wonderful moments. I’ll be a Wahdawi forever.”
Aguirre, who had become Wahda manager in June 2015, won the Arabian Gulf League Cup last season, and then added the President’s Cup, which in turn earns the club a second successive Asian Champions League campaign next year, felt it was an achievement to have lasted two years in a league that has traditionally had a high turnover of managers.
He said: “Cosmin [Olaroiu, the Al Ahli manager] and I were the only two managers to serve the full two seasons while more than 25 lost their jobs.
“I think under such circumstances, I think I was quite fortunate.”
Ahmed Al Rumaithi, chairman of the club’s board of directors, said it was the management’s decision to part ways with their manager of two years.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to take when you win a major title but it’s not one person’s decision,” he said.
“The management wants a new manager who can bring fresh ideas. We have high regard for Aguirre and we highly appreciate the work he had done with us for two years.
“It is unfortunate we must take different paths but it’s all done in the best interest of the club.”
Wahda finished the season in fifth spot, 29 points behind city rivals and champions Al Jazira, but Aguirre said he took pride from the fact he had looked to develop players during his time in the UAE.
“I’m proud that we have around 25 players from our academy in our first team and 14 of them are playing in second team. Nine are in the in the UAE Olympic team.
“We have a very young first team and we have a very good base for the next four to five years for sure,” he said. “Next season, they have Super Cup and Asian Champions League aside the three domestic titles to challenge.”
Aguirre said one of his challenges was working on the attitudes and approaches to football of members of the academy.
“The young players of this country, in my opinion, need to understand how to be a professional,” he said.
“Two years ago, some of these youngsters would arrive late for training. They didn’t have good eating habits and they didn’t rest properly. They didn’t know how to improve their performance.
“In Spain, it is not like this. You don’t understand you are out, and there are 20 others behind you to take up your place. Here is not like that and the local players need to understand that it is a profession.”
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