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Arabian Gulf League: Al Jazira coach Keizer to discuss future after confetti settles

Dubai: Marcel Keizer might have coached Al Jazira to the Arabian Gulf League title, but his future at the club hangs in the balance after his contract expired with the culmination of the 2020/21 campaign.

Keizer was appointed on a two-year contract in October 2019. It was his second stint as coach at Al Jazira. Dutchman Keizer left Jazira in 2018 taking up the position at Sporting in Portugal, whom he guided to League Cup and Portugal Cup double in the same season.

Keizer’s contract has effectively expired with Jazira and he will wait to see what happens, but with the UAE champions guaranteed AFC Champions League football next term, there is likely to be a push for him to be offered an extension.

Keizer is happy to play the waiting game as he contemplates his future at the club, whose management had postponed a review of his position until the end of the season.

In the meantime, Keizer was thrilled to have secured Al Jazira a third League title and said victory was a direct result of the hard work put in by everyone at the club. The 2020/21 campaign was absolutely sensational, with Jazira crowning themselves winners on the last day of the season with a 3-1 beating of Khor Fakkan at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium. Bani Yas, one point behind going into the final round, chased them all the way but had to settle for second after a 1-1 draw in their final match against visiting Al Wahda.

Keizer said: “All the teams excelled in this season, like Bani Yas, who competed for the championship until the last round. But we deserved the title because we did well all along and played excellent football at all levels throughout the season.”

By virtue of finishing second, Bani Yas too will represent the UAE at the continental level next season and coach Daniel Isaila said he could not be more proud of his players.

The Romanian manager said: “I will not talk much about our match with Al Wahda, but I will talk about the season as a whole. I saw the sadness on the players’ faces at the end of the match, but I assured them that they should not be sad because the team presented a great and exceptional season and we fought until the very end. Who would have thought that Baniyas will compete until the last game for the title.”

Isaila promised an even stronger Baniyas side next season, and said his men would fight for all eligible competitions.

“Now we will get some well-deserved rest and a long vacation after the end of the season, and then we will return,” Isaila said. “We will continue with the same work and spirit, and we will also fight in the next season as we fought in the current season.

“I spoke with the management to preserve and develop the same group of players and recruit more players as the next season will be more difficult because of our participation in the Asian Champions League.”

Bani Yas goalkeeper Fahd Al Dhanhani added: “Regardless of whether we were able to win the title or not, we are completely satisfied with our results in this season. We gave everything we had and competed in all tournaments.”

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