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Ivankovic appointed as new Al Ahli head coach

Jeddah: Former Persepolis and Islamic Republic of Iran boss Branko Ivankovic has been appointed as new Al Ahli Saudi FC head coach, the club announced on Tuesday.

Confirming the appointment of the Croatian on their official Twitter account, Al Ahli said Ivankovic has signed a two-year contract with the club.

The 65-year-old replaces local coach Yousif Anbar who had been installed as caretaker in April following the dismissal of Uruguayan manager Jorge Fossati who lasted just over two months at Al Ahli.

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Anbar led the club to two wins from their last three 2019 AFC Champions League group matches to help the club book their ticket to the Round of 16, where they will face rivals Al Hilal on August 6th in what will be Ivankovic’s first test with his new club.

Ivankovic first arrived in Asian football in 2002 as head coach of IR Iran, leading them to a third-place finish at the 2004 AFC Asian Cup and to qualify to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After a spell in Croatia, he returned to Asia through Chinese side Shandong Luneng, winning the Chinese Super League title in 2010.

The Al Ahli job is Ivankovic’s second in Saudi Arabia, having previously led Ettifaq to fourth place in the Saudi Pro League in 2011-12.

A four-year spell at Azadi Stadium saw the Croatian become a fan favourite, after helping Persepolis win three consecutive Iran Pro League titles as well as reach the AFC Champions League semi-final in 2017 and the final in 2018.

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