Al Jazira to appoint Magath as boss 'within 24 hours'
Al Jazira’s second-half salvo against Al Shabab on Monday was not enough to save Paulo Bonamigo’s job as coach, with Felix Magath expected to replace the Brazilian within the next 24 hours.
It is understood the decision to dispense with Bonamigo’s services had been made prior to kick-off against his former team, with Magath even invited along to the game as a guest of the club.
That would mean Ahmed Juma’s late strike, which sealed a dramatic 2-1 win for the 2011 Pro League champions, counted for little as Bonamigo paid the price for a faltering start to the season.
Victory over the Hawks only served to delay the inevitable and the club will hold talks with the 52-year-old on Wednesday as they look to pave the way for Magath’s arrival.
Bonamigo has been under pressure since a 2-1 home defeat to Al Nasr in the opening round of the Pro League season. Defeat at Al Dhafra by the same scoreline only intensified speculation surrounding his position.
Subsequent draws with Al Ain, Al Wasl and Ittihad Kalba – as well as a 4-0 win over Dibba Al Fujairah – seemingly did nothing to convince the board that the Brazilian was the man to take the club forward.
It is unclear, though, whether either Magath or his representatives were in attendance at the game on Monday night.
The win over Shabab lifted Jazira up to sixth in the league, five points behind early pace-setters Al Ain.
It may seem harsh for a club to dispense with a coach following such an emotionally-charged victory, but Jazira have been here before. Franky Vercauteren was shown the door last March less than 24 hours after leading the capital club to a 4-2 win over Nasaf Qarshi in Uzbekistan – their first-ever AFC Champions League success.
His successor Caio Junior was then replaced with Bonamigo at the end of May despite helping Jazira into the knockout stages of the Champions League and winning the President’s Cup.
Junior – whom the players enjoyed working under – was not deemed high profile enough to take on the team full-time, while his Belgian predecessor was axed due to differences with his squad, who were not used to the European training methods he tried to implement.
It will be interesting to see what the Jazira players make of life under Magath therefore, who has a reputation in his native Germany for being something of a disciplinarian.
Wolfsburg playmaker Diego revealed last month that the much-travelled coach’s sacking had set his team-mates “free” as they were no longer “afraid of making mistakes”.