Al Jazira coach Keizer looking forward to reality after being in virtual mode
Marcel Keizer is looking forward to the day when his team can stride onto the pitch
As with most of the rest of the sporting world, the Arabian Gulf League, the UAE's top flight football league, too has gone into virtual mode.
Clubs have been engaging their players through digital platforms to keep them fit and sharp, and in match-shape when the League resumes in August.
The restart is still some three months away but Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer is looking forward to the day when his team can stride onto the pitch and play ball.
"I keep in touch with the team with emails, WhatsApp's or zoom. We use zoom with the staff to keep in touch with each other and know what we have to do. With players it's more WhatsApp content and we send them programmes by email," Keizer revealed on Tuesday.
All football activities have been on hold since March 15 because of the Covid-19 pandemic but a ray of hope has shone after the UAE Football Association and UAE Pro League set out a provisional return in August.
The 51-year-old Keizer, who had a short spell with Dutch giants Ajax, has been on the ball, so to speak, when it comes to his meticulous planning. His style of operating means Keizer does his homework irrespective of the situation.
"I do this not only during corona time but all the time. You have to watch what other coaches are doing or what other teams are doing and maybe you can learn something from them. We went with our programme that they can do in their moment in the day that they want to do it and we trust them. They are professional and will keep their fitness," he explained.
Keizer, who is on his second spell with the Pride of Abu Dhabi, is also delighted about the League's return.
"I'm very happy with the decision to start the league in August again. For me, any decision is good. If they started in May for example, this is also good, but now we start in August it's fine. The most important thing is that the government makes the rules and we have to beat coronavirus. Second of all, it's good to know when we can work again and for coaches to be able to plan to know when we can work again. Now we know the month, so we just need the date of beginning of August or the end of August which is important for us to make the schedule," felt Keizer.
Ajax have built a solid reputation of producing young and exciting talent and Keizer said that has been the case with Al Jazira's academy as well.
"Ajax are always preparing young players for the first team and the same in Sporting where I was for one year. They have a very good academy and for me it's good to see young players coming through. We saw this a few years ago in Al Jazira with young players and now there are young players playing in the team all the time and let's hope that more young players are ready next year," Keizer, who also managed Sporting Lisbon said.
Al Jazira, who won the League in 2010-11 and 2016-17, and were runners-up to Real Madrid in the Fifa Club World Cup in 2017, are currently third on the table, one point behind Al Ain, with seven rounds left to play.