x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Ahli rocked by Naser blow

The Al Ahli goalkeeper will not feature in the first half of the 2013/14 Arabian Gulf League season after damaging his Achilles in the club's season opener against Dubai.

Al Ahli goalkeeper Majed Naser injured his Achilles in the opening game of the 2013/14 season against Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Al Ahli goalkeeper Majed Naser injured his Achilles in the opening game of the 2013/14 season against Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Al Ahli have been rocked by news Majed Naser, their national team goalkeeper, is out for six months.

The Emirati, largely considered one of the country’s finest custodians, injured his Achilles in his side’s season-opening fixture against Dubai on Saturday and will need to have a protracted period of rehabilitation.

Ahli have already begun the search for Naser’s replacement, with Ahmed Mahmoud, the Al Wasl goalkeeper, believed to be their prime target. Ahli will attempt to sign the player on a temporary contract, before Sunday when the summer transfer window closes.

Saif Yousif, the substitute goalkeeper, is expected to remain second choice. Yousif, 24, played in both Ahli’s UAE League Cup games this month, yet he only recently returned from injury and has struggled to stake a permanent claim for the No 1 jersey.

The loss of Naser is significant, as Ahli were convinced they had the best goalkeeper in the Arabian Gulf League. Naser, 27, was integral to Wasl’s 2007 double-winning side before making the surprise move to Rashid Stadium last summer.

He recently spent a considerable time on the sidelines, after he was suspended for 17 matches last year for slapping Quique Sanchez Flores, then Ahli manager, at the end of an Etisalat Cup semi-final.

The ban was later extended to six months when Naser received a red card for butting an opposition player during the second leg of the GCC Champions League final.

jmcauley@thenational.ae