Wahda belongs to the top: Ivankovic
New Al Wahda coach Branko Ivankovic has vowed to bring the club back to where they belong — to the top.
The 58-year-old was officially presented at the Al Nahyan Stadium by the club. The Croatian took over following the departure of Austrian Josef Hickersberger. Al Wahda, four-time winners of the UAE League, finished a disappointing sixth last season.
Ivankovic said that his goals and Al Wahda’s goals were pretty similar, which is to win titles. “My ambitions are always about winning the championship. This club needs to be fighting for the championship. My goals and Al Wahda’s goals are the same — winning, winning, winning,” Ivankovic said.
He reckoned that the road to success wouldn’t be easy but added that he had good team under his wings.
“We have a good team and with hard work, I expect to get results. It is going to be tough because we have to fight with Al Jazira and Al Ain. But I expect to fight with these teams to become champions,” said, who held the role of assistant coach of Croatia.
Ivankovic said that he was pleased to join Al Wahda. “I want to thank everyone for giving me a very warm welcome to Abu Dhabi. I am very satisfied and very happy to be at Al Wahda Club. When I came here I saw I had come to a big club,’’ he said.
Ivankovic has quite a bit of experience in the region, having coached Iran and Saudi Arabian club Ettifaq FC.
He revealed that he had done his homework on clubs in the UAE and when the offer did come from Al Wahda, he didn’t have to think too much about it.
“I have really paid attention to clubs in the UAE and especially Al Wahda. And when Al Wahda invited me to become their new manager, it was an easy decision for me to make. I know the region, I worked in Iran for five years. Last season, I was in Saudi Arabia. I expect us to work hard and to work together to get good results,” said Ivankovic.
Apart from being assistant coach to Croatia, Ivankovic has managed German club Hannover 96. He also had two stints with Iran, once as assistant coach. He also guided Iran’s Unde-23 squad. Ivankovic managed Dinamo Zagreb for two seasons before moving to Chinese club Shandong Luneng. He then moved Ettifaq FC before making the move to Al Wahda.