Fabio Lopez, a former goalkeeper in Italy, arrives in the Middle East for his first coaching job and that is with Al-Orouba of Oman. Al-Orouba, who had won the league just two seasons ago, failed to re-clinch the title – sacking 4 managers on the way – in the following season. After experience in Asia with various national teams Fabio Lopez takes his first club job in the region, where he aims to bring his Italian experience and tactical intelligence into the Omani game.
Lopez gives us the lowdown on what he has seen, what he expects and what there is to know about being a foreign manager in Middle Eastern Football.
Fabio Lopez: Oman is a beautiful country, but what I like most about the country is the warmth of the people. They are nice and very friendly.
How is your coaching experience in Asia?
FL: In Asia I have had a lot of experience. The last time I coached here was with a National Team where we played a World Cup Qualifying Match for Russia 2018. So after stints with Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives and the Bangladesh National Team, I think the experience in life is all good and we can learn every time. I hope I can do the same with Al-Orouba and have a great experience.
How is your coaching staff like? Do you have an Italian scout and coach with you for analysis or an Omani coach?
FL: Amongst my staff I have a Fitness Coach and Goalkeeping Coach from Italy, meanwhile my assistant coach is from Oman. The assistant helps me in the scouting of the local players, otherwise in Italy I have some other person that can collaborate with me by internet to do some of the tactical analysis.
Is it hard to communicate with players who don’t speak the language you speak?
FL: In all my experience I’ve never really had a problem with player communication, the players are clever. I also think that when a communication problem emerges between the coach and the player, most of the time that problem stems from the coach.
How do you see the Omani league from a professional point of view?
FL: Omani football is indeed growing very well. I have already seen the quality of the player which is relatively very good. Omani football is currently in a development phase therefore it is very interesting be part of this moment.
What is your aim with the club?
FL: I think no coach in the world goes to the field to think about losing, so if we can share this belief with the club together we will make a great team and I think Al-Orouba will be able to end the season with a trophy.