DUBAI // Ion Marin, the former Dinamo Bucharest manager, was yesterday announced as Dubai's new coach, replacing Umberto Barberis, who the club said was only doing the job in a caretaker capacity.
Marin, who has spent the last two seasons with the Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq and helped them qualify for next year's Asian Champions League by finishing third in the league, is the third man in the hot seat at the Aweer club this season.
Argentina's Nestor Clausen started the season as coach, but was replaced by his assistant, Barberis, despite winning their Etisalat Cup opener 2-1 at Emirates in Ras Al Khaimah. The Swiss has lasted only two games - losing 2-1 at home to Al Ain and 1-0 at Al Jazira.
However, Saeed Rashid, a Dubai board member, said Barberis was only working in a caretaker capacity and the club have been negotiating with Marin for over two weeks now.
"Barberis was Clausen's assistant and we never announced him as the new coach," Rashid said. "He was just there as a caretaker and he has done his job. We have not fired him. And how can we fire him if we have never appointed him as coach?
"It was just a misunderstanding. People assumed he had taken over as the coach. We did not send out any release saying that; we did not have a press conference with Barberis like we are having now.
"Marin has a lot of experience and we believe he will be able to deliver the results we seek. Of course, he will have the full support of the management."
The management's decision, however, has taken Barberis by surprise, especially since the team had put on an impressive display in the defeat at Jazira.
"I really don't know the reasons for this decision," said the Swiss, who is hoping to return to the Pro League soon as a manager with another club. "I wish I had been able to stay longer and build a team that would have brought cheers to the Dubai fans."
Marin will be hoping he gets a longer reign, especially since he prides himself on club loyalty.
The Romanian spent 16 years as a player in Dinamo Bucharest's defence, winning five league title and two domestic cups. He was also part of the Romanian team's run to the semifinals of the 1984 European Cup before losing to Liverpool.
As manager, Marin has worked at just five clubs since 1992, winning the Romanian Cup with Petrolul Ploiesti in 1995 and the 2001/02 league title with Dinamo Bucharest. In 2009, he ventured out of Romania for the first time, to Ettifaq, on a two-year contract.
"I don't like to move from club to club," Marin said. "You can see that I have spent more than three years at virtually every club [he has managed]. I prefer to spend a long time at every club because that allows you to build a team.
"I have a lot of experience, with both small and big teams. I love challenges and that is what has brought me here.
"I have watched the team in their last two matches, against Al Ain and Jazira. I was really pleased to see all these young players. We also have some experienced players as well, and I have found all of them to be talented and intelligent. So I believe we can achieve good results with this team."
Marin is the second new appointment in the Pro League this season. Last month, Valeriu Tita, another Romanian, replaced Carlos Azenha, the Portuguese, who resigned as manager of Sharjah after his wife was diagnosed with cancer.