Al-Arabi Club shakeup: Darko out, Nasser Al-Shatti in as coach

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Nasser and Maytham Al-Shatti wave to the crowd in this file photo.

KUWAIT CITY, April 2: Al-Arabi Club’s Board of Directors made a significant decision, dismissing Bosnian first-team Coach Darko Nestorovic and appointing Nasser Al-Shatti as his replacement. Assisting Al-Shatti are his brother Maytham Al-Shatti and technical analyst Ali Boland.

Darko’s dismissal comes just days before a crucial match against Al-Qadisiyah in the Kuwaiti football “derby” on Sunday, marking the third round of championship group competitions in the Premier Six League. This decision follows Al-Akhdar’s recent 1-1 draw with Al-Salmiya, which caused them to slip from the top spot in the standings to second place with 46 points, trailing leaders Kuwait by just one point.

Although Al-Arabi acknowledged Darko’s efforts in steering the team through adversity, including injuries and numerical shortages, recent issues arose, such as the exclusion of midfielder Abdul Rahman Al-Dhafiri and reliance on Ali Aziz. Sources also hinted at Darko’s desire to explore external coaching opportunities.

Since Darko assumed coaching responsibilities last November, he managed 13 matches, winning 10, drawing 2, and suffering one defeat to Kuwait. However, the team’s elimination from the Prince’s Cup semi-finals against Al-Qadisiyah likely contributed to his dismissal.

Darko’s departure marks the eighth coaching change in the Zain Premier League this season, with only Syrian Firas Al-Khatib of Al-Fahaheel and Zaher Al-Adwani of Al-Nasr retaining their positions.

Following Darko’s dismissal, Al-Arabi negotiated with several potential coaches, including Croatian Ante Misha of Salmiya and Syrian Firas Al-Khatib of Al-Fahaheel. However, unable to secure their preferred choices, they turned to the Shatti brothers for interim leadership while searching for a permanent coach for next season. Al-Shatti brings considerable local experience, having previously coached Al-Qadisiyah and Al-Arabi, as well as various youth levels in different clubs.

Hassan Musa

Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

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