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Al Ain aim to climb mountains

Al Ain had their first training session of their pre-season camp in Italy yesterday as they prepare to make amends for a disappointing 2010/11 season.

Al Ain had their first training session of their pre-season camp in Italy yesterday as they prepare to make amends for a disappointing 2010/11 season which saw them finish 10th in the Pro League.

The team flew to Venice on Tuesday and are staying in Brunico, at the foot of the Alps and on the border with Austria.

Aurelian Cosmin, Al Ain's new Romanian coach, is aiming to improve the team's fitness and has already been putting the squad through their paces in the UAE since June 28, prior to their arrival in Europe.

The nine-time UAE champions play the first of a series of friendly matches on Wednesday.

Ignacio Scocco, the Argentine midfielder who has signed from the Greek side AEK Athens, is due to join his teammates in Italy shortly, while Mirel Radoi, the Romanian international centre-back, will take part in the second leg of the summer camp later this month in Austria.

Omar Abdurrahman and Haddaf Al Ameri, meanwhile, will not be in Europe for long as they have been called up for the national team and will join the squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifier double-header against India on July 23 and 28 at the end of the first phase in Italy.

Meanwhile, Al Wasl's revolution under Diego Maradona continued with the appointment of Ammar Awad as the sporting director.

Awad, a Syrian-Canadian, was also previously part of Al Wahda's management team.

"A strong management is the backbone to a strong team and that is why we have dedicated our efforts towards securing individuals who will support the team as they lead us to future championships," Marwan bin Bayat, the Al Wasl chairman, said.

Awad's arrival follows the appointment last month of Ali Hassan, an Emirati, as Maradona's assistant manager.

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