President’s Cup winners Al Wahda replace Javier Aguirre with Laurentiu Reghecampf

Laurentiu Reghecampf will replace Javier Aguirre as Al Wahda manager despite the Mexican leading the Abu Dhabi club to the President's Cup title on Friday.

Javier Aguirre watches on from the touchline during Al Wahda's President's Cup final victory on Friday. The Mexican is set to be replaced as Wahda manager by Romanian Laurențiu Reghecampf. Pawan Singh / The National
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ABU DHABI // Laurentiu Reghecampf will replace Javier Aguirre as Al Wahda manager despite the Mexican leading the Abu Dhabi club to the President's Cup title on Friday.

Aguirre was at the helm at Wahda for two years. He won the Arabian Gulf Cup last season and ended the club’s 17-year wait for a second President’s Cup after the Abu Dhabi team beat Al Nasr 3-0 in the final at Zayed Sports City Stadium.

A club official said on condition of anonymity that the decision had been made to replace Aguirre with Reghecampf before Friday’s clash.

Aguirre joined Wahda in the summer of 2015 and was given an extension following their Arabian Gulf Cup win. His team also finished third in the Arabian Gulf League, which earned them a spot to the 2017 Asian Champions League.


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However, Wahda finished fifth in the league this season, 29 points behind champions Al Jazira, their city rivals.

They also failed to progress beyond the group stage in the Champions League, finishing bottom of Group D on four points from six games.

The President’s Cup win, which also secured them a place in next year’s continental competition, appears to have come too late for Aguirre to earn a second extension.

But the former Mexico and Japan manager, who claims to have received offers from clubs in China and the United States, said he could leave Abu Dhabi with his head high.

Reghecampf started his managerial career with Snagov, a Romanian Liga II side in 2009, and moved to Universitatea Craiova the following season to save them from relegation.

When you win the President's Cup & your players can't wait to celebrate with you. @AlWahdaFCC gatecrashing the post-match presser. #WHDFC

The high point of his career was when he led Steaua Bucharest to successive Romanian League titles in 2013 and 2014, and the Romanian Cup in 2013 and the League Cup in 2016.

He also guided Bucuresti to the last 16 of the Europa League in 2012 after eliminating Ajax from the competition. They were beaten by eventual winners Chelsea after winning 1-0 in the first leg at home and losing 3-1 away.

In 2014/2015 Reghecampf had a spell at Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, leading them to the Asian Champions League final after defeating Al Ain 4-2 on aggregate.

However, they lost the final to Western Sydney Wanderers and were losing finalists again in the domestic Saudi Crown Prince Cup. Those results did not satisfy his employers and he was dismissed.

He was appointed manager of Bulgarian side Litex Lovech but returned to Bucharest in December 2015.

Reghecampf has one international appearance as a midfielder for Romania, coming against Denmark in 2003. He began his playing career at his native Chindia Targoviste and was loaned to Austrian side SKN St Pollen.

he later joined Bucharest where he won two Romanian league titles, and at Litex Lovech won the Bulgarian league.

He spent his past nine years at the German Bundesliga clubs Energie Cottbus, Alemannia Aachen and FC Kaiserslautern before announcing his retirement as a player in 2009.

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