Fujairah pin hopes on Tufegdzic for new season - GulfToday

Fujairah pin hopes on Tufegdzic for new season


Serbia’s Goran Tufegdzic replaces Italian Fabio Viviani as the head coach at Fujairah. File

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Fujairah appointed Serbia’s Goran Tufegdzic as the new coach with the hopes of a turnaround in the fortunes ahead of the upcoming season, which gets under way on Sept.3.

Tovaric replaced former Italian coach Fabio Viviani, who was released after his contract got over at the end of the current season.

When the league was suspended, Fujairah were at the bottom of the standings in the 14-team tournament with only 12 points from 19 games. They were struggling to remain afloat in the top flight.

They managed to win only three games and three ended in a draw while they had to face defeat in rest of the games.

If the league had to be played on, they might have been relegated. But, after the league was suspended midway, the UAE Pro League committee decided to suspend the relegation and coronation.

Tufegdzic has a long spiralling career in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) as he has served as the head coach of three other clubs in the top flight – Khorfakkan, Bani Yas and Ittihad Kalba.

He is well aware of the conditions in the country and knows all the teams and their strategies in and out, having spent a long time in the league.

Most recently, Tufegdzic was with Khorfakkan. He took over as their head coach, in October 2019, replacing Brazilian Paulo Camili. But, soon after his appointment, the league went into a winter break.

After the resumption of the league, coronavirus broke out and the league was suspended due to the pandemic as he was in charge only for four games.  

But during his brief stint at the club, he left his mark. Khorfakkan won two matches, lost and drew one each under him. They also defeated Al Jazira 1-0 in a 17th round match.

Khorfakkan had a good run under him as they rose to the 12th spot when the league ground to a halt due to the pandemic. They were thriving well under him. Out of the three victories, the club procured two under the Serbian.

Before joining Khorfakkan, Tufegdzic was with Bani Yas. But he did not remain in charge for a single game as he was awarded with a sack soon after steering them to the top flight from the first divison.

He also served as the head coach of Ittihad Kalba in 2016-17. He was at the helm of affairs for 15 matches and the club finished second last that year with 19 points from 26 games.

Tufegdzic is also the former coach of Kuwait’s national team and guided them to the Arabian Gulf Cup title.

Fujairah also rang in many changes in a bid to strengthen the squad as they roped in a number of overseas players and handed new contracts to a few.

The Wolves also roped in Iraqi defender Mohammed Mustafa. He was signed on a two-year contract. He is coming from the club Dibba Al Hisn.

He had a stellar season with his previous club as he was named among the best three players last season in the first division for his ability to score goals. Striker Ali Eid was also handed a contract extension at the club.

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