After winning his first trophy in charge with the club and putting them on the road to possible greatness in the AFC Champions League, Caio Junior will be hoping he will remain as Al Jazira coach next season.
Abu Dhabi heavyweights Al Jazira defeated Bani Yas 3-1 to retain the prestigious President’s Cup at the Zayed Sports City on Monday night. The Brazilian had a smile on his face after bringing Al Jazira silverware but remained tight-lipped about his future with the club.
“You would have to ask the club president,” was Junior’s reply when asked if he was looking at a longer tenure at the club. Junior was parachuted in to take charge after the firing of Belgian Frank Vercauteren mid-season. Though, he started on a bad note, losing the Etisalat Cup semi-final against Al Shabab, the Brazilian has slowly brought Al Jazira back to their favoured South American style of play.
Junior has said numerous times that he loves the club and would like to stay. He even said as much prior to the President’s Cup final.
Coming back to the President’s Cup final, Junior said that it was one of his toughest games as coach. “Tactically, it was the most difficult match with Al Jazira. Bani Yas played a very good game. They risked themselves throughout the game and attacked through both wings. We used the strategy to counter-attack. We could have gone up 2-0 in the first half but couldn’t. They scored in the beginning of the second half. Psychologically, it was a crucial moment. Tactically, we proved a lot and we won,” said Junior.
Junior said that they were in danger of losing the game and credited his goalkeeper Ali Khaseif for keeping them in the match.
“It was possible that we could have lost the match. When it was 1-1, Ali Khaseif made a decisive save. Right after that, Ricardo Oliveira scored. So, Khaseif’s was a decisive save,” he said.
Junior came up with a master stroke by putting in Ahmed Ali Mubarak in place of Bare and that paid off. Mubarak was making his first appearance for the Jazira first-team this season. Mubarak, nicknamed ‘Dada,’ scored the third goal for Al Jazira in the final minute of the game.
“I just told the President a short while ago that the club pay me to be coach and that’s what I do. Dada has been the best player in training over the last few weeks and tactically he is a very interesting player. I am not afraid to take risks. I have my beliefs and my convictions,” Junior said.
Junior praised his defender Lucas Neill. “Neill is an important player for us. He has experience. He is influential in defence. It is difficult to mark a player like Senghor but Neill did it well,” he said.