For Ayman Ramadi, the Sharjah derby is like any other game, but his Al Shaab players do not share that sentiment. Al Sharjah and Shaab have one of the fiercest rivalries in UAE football. It's all about pride and pressure. "There is a lot of tension around and I can understand why," said the coach Ramadi. "There is a bit of history between the two sides, which puts a lot of pressure on the players. It is not easy trying to get rid of that pressure, but I hope it will not affect their performance on the pitch.
"This game is really important for us as we want to enter the second-half of the league in a better position. So our target will be three points, though a draw will be a good result as well since we will be playing at Sharjah. Having said that, no coach enters a game thinking of anything less than a victory and that will be our prime goal. "We just have to make sure we implement our strategies on the field and leave the outcome to the circumstances of the game."
Shaab share bottom spot in the league with Al Khaleej on seven points. But Ramadi promised his "Commandos" would fight their was out of the relegation zone. "I just want to tell the fans that we will be out of this dark tunnel soon," said the Egyptian. "I have full faith in the abilities of the players to respond to this challenge." Sharjah also have been languishing in the bottom half of the 12-team table, with 10 points from nine games. But a battling 2-0 win over Khaleej in the previous round has raised their morale.
"I am confident that the spirit we showed in our last game should guide us to victory in this match," said the Sharjah coach Yousuf al Zawawi. "Of course, this is a big game for the fans, so there will be a lot of pressure on the team, but the commitment players have shown gives me confidence. "We are clawing our way up the league and I am confident we will continue this progress. I am happy with the performance of the side."