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Donis arrives to take charge of Al Sharjah

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on July 27, 2016
Donis arrives to take charge of Al Sharjah
Giorgos Donis arrives at the Sharjah Airport on Wednesday evening.

(Twitter/@SharjahFC)

He replaces caretaker manager and former Al Sharjah skipper Abdul Aziz Al Anbari, who had taken over after Al Sharjah had parted ways with Brazilian coach Paulo Bonamigo last November

Al Sharjah's search for a new coach has ended with former Al Hilal boss Giorgos Donis set to take charge of 'The King.'

The Greek manager arrived at the Sharjah Airport on Wednesday evening to put pen to paper on the contract. The club announced his arrival on the official Twitter handle on Wednesday and a club source told the Khaleej Times that Donis will be officially unveiled at the Al Sharjah Stadium on Thursday evening.

The source declined to reveal the length of the contract but Donis could be handed the reins for two years.

"A little while ago, Greek coach Giorgos Donis arrived in Sharjah to sign the contract in the evening to train Sharjah club next season," the club tweeted on Wednesday.

Donis replaces caretaker manager and former Al Sharjah skipper Abdul Aziz Al Anbari, who had taken over after Al Sharjah had parted ways with Brazilian coach Paulo Bonamigo last November.

A number of names were in the mix which included former Tottenham Hotspur, Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia) manager Christian Gross, former Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia) and Zamalek (Egypt) manager Jaime Pacheco as well as another Portuguese Paulo Sergio.

Five-time Arabian Gulf League champions Al Sharjah were also said to be looking at former Getafe, Real Betis and West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel after Donis had initially said no to an offer from the club.

But Donis, who guided Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal to the King's Cup and the Crown Prince Cup as well as qualification to the semifinals of the AFC Champions League since his appointment in February last year, reconsidered his position.

Donis has managed Greek clubs Illsiakos, AEL, AEK Athens, Atromitos, PAOK as well as Cypriot club APOEL. During his playing days, the former midfielder became the first ever Greek to play in the English Premier League, when he turned out for Blackburn Rovers. He also played for Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town as well as Greek clubs Panathinaikos FC and AEK Athens.

One of the storied clubs in the UAE, Al Sharjah have been struggling off late, so to speak. The endured a season in the First Division before returning to the UAE top flight. The eight-time President's Cup winners brushed with danger on two occasions therafter but managed to stay afloat. The club finished 11th in the Arabian Gulf League last season.

Al Sharjah's last of their five League titles came almost two decades ago in the 1995-96 season.

But now, with a new manager in tow, the squad will embark on pre-season training camps to Austria and Germany on Friday, filled with hope.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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