Who will be named the best tactician?
The race to win the 2017-18 season’s Best Coach Award has narrowed down to Djamel Belmadi of Al Duhail, Jesualdo Ferreira of Al Sadd and Michael Laudrup of Al Rayyan.
Belmadi, Ferreira and Laudrup stood out among all coaches with their achievements as they guided their teams to the first three positions, in that order, in the QNB Stars League.
Belmadi and Ferreira, who won the award last season, took their teams to the knockout stage of AFC Champions League, with the former going a step further by leading Al Duhail to the Qatar Cup triumph as well.
The winners will be announced at the end-of-season ceremony at the Qatar National Convention Center in Education City on Thursday, 17th May.
QNB Stars League team coaches, Qatar national team coach, Qatar Olympic team coach, team managers, media representatives, representative of Qatar Football Association (QFA), representative of Qatar Stars League Management, as well as president and Board members of the QFA participated in the final voting process.
QSL Online takes a look at the trio, selected by the QFA Awards Committee.
Djamel Belmadi (Al Duhail)
Djamel Belmadi has made it really big with Al Duhail this season by guiding them to the QNB Stars League and Qatar Cup triumphs. The Algerian is a shrewd tactician, who has consistently been producing excellent results at both domestic and continental levels.
Al Duhail won the league title with an unbeaten record. They finished with 60 points from 19 victories and three draws. The Red Knights defeated Al Sadd in the Qatar Cup final.
Belmadi was named as the QNB Stars League’s best coach for the months of February, March and April, 2018.
He has achieved a lot in Qatar football — at both club and country levels. Belmadi made it big at the regional level when he led Qatar to the Gulf Cup triumph in 2014, beating Saudi Arabia in the final.
Four of Lekhwiya’s league titles (2010-11, 2011-12, 2016-17 and 2017-18) came when Belmadi was at the helm.
Jesualdo Ferreira (Al Sadd)
Al Sadd did well throughout this season’s QNB Stars League, but for the occasional slips. There had been a remarkable improvement in their game technically under much-experienced Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira.
Al Sadd turned to the vastly-experienced coach in November, 2015, and he has brought them much success. He is like a father and philosopher to the players, and has been instrumental in many youngsters’ graduation from the junior ranks.
Ferreira is a result-oriented master tactician. He is more experienced, having been in the profession since 1981 and coached teams in Spain, Greece and Egypt besides his native Portugal.
His most successful period was when he guided native side Porto to three consecutive league titles between 2006 and 2009.
Michael Laudrup (Al Rayyan)
Michael Laudrup took over Al Rayyan in October, 2016. The legendary Danish player is no stranger to coaching in Qatar, having guided Lekhwiya to a league and cup double during the 2014-15 season.
He has managed a host of clubs around the world including stints in Russia, Spain and England. His most successful spell came with Premier League side Swansea City, lifting the league cup during the 2012-13 season. It was the first major English trophy in their history.
The Dane has had much more credentials as a forward, having donned the jerseys of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. He had also represented top Italian side Juventus and Dutch stalwarts Ajax Amsterdam besides playing for the Denmark national team umpteen times.
Under, Laudrup, Al Rayyan have become a more offensive side. They scored 54 goals, the third best in the QNB Stars League, after Al Duhail (86) and Al Sadd (68).