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FRIDAY WITH… FLORIN MOTROC

Florin Motroc, a manager known for his time in the Middle East, spoke to us about his career, which saw him take underdogs to avoiding relegation or even win their domestic title. Now coaching Kazma SC in Kuwait, Motroc gives a very honest view to many situations he endured and enjoyed in the region. 

Florin Motroc: a career of looking forward.

Florin Motroc: a career of looking forward.

Florin Motroc spoke about his beginnings in the Middle East, where not much is found of on the Internet. Before his time in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, Florin spent a period of his career in the UAE and Kuwait.

My career started in the UAE during the season of 2001-2002, as an assistant coach in Al-Shabab Dubai. We tried to help Al-Shabab to avoid relegation and in the end we succeeded. After I left, I also became an assistant coach to the same manager, Mr. Grigory Sichitiu (now manager of Dhofar in Oman) at Al-Jahra SC in Kuwait in 2003.

This was when Al-Jahra were in the second division and after I became an assistant coach, God gave me the chance to play for Al-Jahra in the space of 7 games to help them promote to the Premier League! After this short period when I was an assistant coach and a player, my head coach left Al-Jahra and they wanted me to stay as head coach. I stayed for one season with Al-Jahra in Premier League and we finished in 8th placed in 2003, from a total of 16 teams.  

After that I left with my head coach again to Baniyas in the 2nd division of the UAE, where we promoted the team before leaving the club.

A 5-year hiatus in Romania didn’t stop him from returning to the region…

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Motroc at Al-Taawon.

I came with Mr. Mutlescu to Saudi Arabia, Al-Taawon specifically, in 2010.  We stayed together for 6 months, but after his departure I signed a 6-month contract myself to help the team (already in the relegation zone) fight off the threat of relegation. We finished in 7th place, one of Al-Taawon’s best performances in the Saudi League.

It was an amazing experience for me considering I was in the Gulf’s strongest league,  and also my results in 5 months were amazing.  From 11 games, from when I became head coach we won 6, drew 4 and lost 1 game. It was unbelievable! Al-Taawon proposed a new 2-year contract and I signed. But I suffered too much over the course of the summer, where I went to Romania and after a mere 2 weeks holiday I had to come back.

What are his thoughts on the quality and level of the leagues in the region?

For me the Saudi league is the most powerful league from the Gulf area! I hope I will come back to the Saudi League in future, but now I am very happy with my new club Kazma from Kuwait.

I remember when I was with Taawon many young players who play just few minutes against Al-Hilal, in Al-Ittihad, in Al-Nasr, and now they are strong players with a big personality. I give one example: No. 10 from Al-Nassr, the striker for the national team Al-Sahlawi! A very good player!

How long you will invest in football, in youth, in fields for training and football clubs and you try to build something. Then you are sure that in the future you will have good results. Saudi bring very good coaches for youth groups and this is good for developing football!

Shadi Abu Hashhash, a very good friend of Florin Motroc.

About players, yes now in Al-Taawon you can find only 2 players from my group of players when I was head coach there! It is Shadi Abu Hashhash and Badr Al-Khamis! 2 special players! 2 very beautiful characters!

Shadi Abu Hashhash.

Shadi Abu Hashhash.

I have a nice story about how I became head coach at Shabab Ordon. I left Al-Taawon in December 2011 when I resigned for a reason that I will not comment on now,  and I returned to Romania. Shadi Abu Hashhash wanted me at Shabab Ordon, his mother club in Jordan, but this failed to materialize due to different reasons.

Yet in February 2012 I received one call from Shadi and he asked me if I want to go to and coach in Jordan with Shabab, because they were enduring a tough period with very bad results. He discussed this with the President. I replied with a yes. However after this moment he didn’t call me. But later I understood why he didn’t call me. The reason was that if they cancelled the contract with the actual coach they must pay some compensation and the club didn’t want that and they were obliged to continue with this coach.

Football without fans is like a wedding without music…

About fans? Ouf! The fans give the color to one league. The fans make the league more interesting,  give adrenaline, give more motivation, and you feel that you play for something and the fans will reward you with their unconditional support! Each league has it’s special fans! At Al-Taawon where I was coach, we had special fans, they know and they understand football, you can’t cheat them, not at all! They appreciate and they respect you, even if you lose, because if you GIVE ALL that’s what matters! I FEEL THIS!  In Jordan, unfortunately Shabab Ordon did not have as many fans and sometimes it is OK, because some players maybe with fans’ pressure,  can’t give their all.

Al-Taawon fans. "I love you Al-Taawon".

Al-Taawon fans. “I love you Al-Taawon”.

They like to play without this pressure and I was right and we won the league in Jordan, because some clubs’ (e.g. Wehdat and Faisaly) under fans’ pressure often make the wrongs steps and I waited for these wrong steps and I won it in the end!  

In Bahrain, with Riffa SC, we have some fans but they didn’t come in big numbers to our games. They prefer to stay in TV and on social sites and comment  and I don’t know why, because I dominated with Riffa SC in the Bahraini league from the beginning to the end! When I became CHAMPION, I saw how many fans Riffa have. This was because we celebrated with fans on streets in Riffa and with this occasion I saw how many fans this team had! Each country has its specific style. Everywhere is beautiful when you have results.

And I will finish with Ramtha fans. I was surprised when I signed with them, how loved this team can be in Jordan and not only there. I received hundreds of messages from all over the world to say that they support me and the team. This was one strong reason when I chose to sign with Ramtha,  ONLY FANS! For the fans I refused many offers last season, and I lost good money ,  just to try to make all Ramtha fans happy, to fight for one trophy… but in the end we finished in 3rd place. I had big problems in the club, but I don’t want to comment about this. Fans from Ramtha deserve all the best! Maybe in future they will be very happy with the team results.  I wish them all the best, they were AMAZING!

About fans in Kuwait, I was surprised because I see Kuwait National football  Team have many fans. I see last 2 games in last 2 weeks in Kuwait (during the WCQ) and they had full stadiums. This is so nice, but unfortunately the results didn’t make them to go happy from the stadium in the end. I see Qadsia, Al-Arabi and Kuwait; those teams have a lot of fans! It is nice to play with fans, football without fans is like a wedding without…music. I hope to bring my fans from Kazma  to our games and to make them happy with our results and with our football style.

The historical Jordanian League win with Shabab Ordon

Players were not paid in many months (me too) but because of them, because of a SPECIAL GROUP that I created in Shabab, because I understood the problems from president Salim  Khair… we succeeded. I even had a moment in February 2013 when I was just a few steps away from coming back to Al-Taawon . But I couldn’t let go of Shabab. When I was No. 1 and I had the big chance to win my first title (which we did), I thanked God that I chose to stay!

In addition ALL of the players insisted that I stay with them, and I didn’t want to destroy what we created in a very difficult situation. This was not the same like 10 years back, when Shabab Ordon won first title with a lot of money and very good condition for all players. So in the end God helped us and I took the title and I can say also the Super Cup of Jordan is also my trophy because I leave Shabab just with one week before final, when I go to Bahrain! Shabab is like first love, first TITLE, the one you can never forget!

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Tactically, what has Florin Motroc brought to the region?

In Shabab like in all teams where I coach I use 4-2-3-1 system.  But sometimes I surprise my opponents, depending on the situation. This system is so flexible of you have intelligent players. Thank God I don’t have big problems and my results in last 4 years speak of my success. In Saudi I lost 1 game in first 6 months with the team,  in Jordan with Shabab I lose only 1, in Bahrain 2 game and in Jordan second time with Ramtha I didn’t lose any one game first part of league, but in the end when start big problems in club, with salaries, I lost 6 games. It is a bad record for me. In 2 year and half I lose only 3 games ! And I don’t have special professional players, I don’t have special condition, but I create SPECIAL GROUPS!

I BUILD TEAMS!

The motivation for my players was that …. Never do I lie to them! I try every time to be very correct with them, to analyse together where we have to accept mistakes and to correct these mistakes. I try to understand all of my players and to have full confidence with one another! And it worked out, in the end.

Who are two special characters in Florin Motroc’s career?

Mirjalol Qosimov and Grigore Sichitiu. The latter is the one who took me when I was first assistant manager with Al-Shabab, and in Al-Jahra. While Qosimov was a player in Al-Shabab during 2002, and he is now a manager. Recently, he was coach of the Uzbekistan national team!

How do you look at football in the UAE today?

It has improved drastically, and especially if you can see what my friend Cosmin Olaroiu is doing! He has taken Al-Ahli to the Champions League Final this season and awaits a big match against Guangzhou. It is nice to see your countrymen doing these things.

Also, now if we look at how UAE football improved, Baniyas and Al-Shabab are amongst the top teams. I really hope to come back to the country one day, as I really like the football there. My one wish for this country is to see the fans always in the stadiums and not just from the TV!

About Hamoudi

The man behind the idea of Ahdaaf.me. Based in Dubai, Hamoudi will bring you an unprecedented level of coverage of the Alfa Lebanese League in English as well as the best of the UAE’s Arabian Gulf League. With dreams of working in the coaching industry in the near future, don’t be surprised by the amount of tactical analysis that he works on to bring in a modern day feel to the very scarce analysis on Middle Eastern Football. (PS: Beware of his rants about the ignominious status of football in his native country Lebanon…).

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