Ex-UAE coach Bruno Metsu loses fight with cancer

October 16, 2013 | By | Reply More

Oct 16, DUBAI – Former Al Ain, Al Wasl and UAE coach Bruno Metsu lost his year-long battle with cancer at a medical facility in his hometown of Couderkerque-Village early on Tuesday morning. Metsu was diagnosed with colon cancer while in charge of the Cheetahs this time last year and, with it spreading to the secondary stage in his liver and lungs, he was informed it was terminal.

hromedia Ex-UAE coach Metsu loses fight with cancer intl. news2He duly resigned from his position at Zabeel Stadium here to convalesce from chemotherapy and focus his attention on making a recovery. He told French newspaper L’Equipe in July that he had already been given only three months to live and that he was “playing the match” of his life.

“Today, I can watch my children grow up and I have had nine months of happiness at their side and it’s so much better than football,” added Metsu, who said at that time he was taking strength for Eric Abidal’s recovery from liver cancer. Metsu, who was 59, leaves a wife – Viviane – and three young children.

His former captain at Wasl, Australian national team skipper Lucas Neill, led the tributes, tweeting: “Very sad to hear Bruno Metsu has lost his battle with cancer. A great coach, a great man and a wonderful servant to world football. RIP mon ami.”

The Frenchman will mostly be remembered for guiding Senegal to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, where they stunned Metsu’s native country in the group stages before eliminating Sweden in the last 16. They were eventually eliminated 1-0 by third-placed Turkey.

He also led Al Ain to AFC Champions League success a year later prior to taking the UAE national team to their first-ever Gulf Cup triumph in 2007.

Metsu took up coaching in 1987 at the end of an unspectacular playing career that spanned Belgium and France with spells at Anderlecht, Beauvais, Dunkerque, Lille, Nice, Roubaix and Valenciennes.

He cut his managerial teeth with Beauvais, where he was the assistant manager and then head coach before stints at two other former clubs in Lille and Valenciennes.

His grounding in French football continued with Sedan and Valence until his first-ever, fleeting experience in international football with Guinea. His subsequent heroics with the Senegalese in Asia unsurprisingly strengthened his coaching credentials on this continent and he soon became a mainstay in Gulf football circles.

He managed Al Ain, Al Gharafa (Doha, Qatar), Al Ittihad (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), the UAE, Qatar, Al Gharafa (again) and Wasl in the decade between 2002 and 2012.

During his time in the Middle East, he converted to Islam and was latterly known as Abdul Karim. His passing, on the holy day of Eid Al Adha, comes just a week after that of Jose ‘Mehdi’ Faria, 80, who oversaw Morocco’s progression to the World Cup knockout stages in Mexico ’86 – the inaugural African team to do so.

They were the forerunners for Cameroon (1990), Nigeria (1994 and 1998), Ghana (2006 and 2010) and – of course – Metsu’s Senegal (2002).

Press journalist for HRO media – contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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