x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Ain close in on third foreign signing to complete summer transition

Cosmin Olaroiu plans to complete the overhaul of the squad by importing a striker, who could join up for their pre-season camp in Qatar.

Al Ain have been transformed over pre-season by their new coach, Cosmin Olaroiu, right, who is looking to add a foreign striker to their ranks before the UAE football season starts.
Al Ain have been transformed over pre-season by their new coach, Cosmin Olaroiu, right, who is looking to add a foreign striker to their ranks before the UAE football season starts.

Al Ain say they are on the verge of announcing their third foreign signing as they bid to seek redemption after their worst season in the club's illustrious history.

The club have already recruited Ignacio Scocco, the Argentine forward, Romania's Mirel Radoi and Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabia captain, in a bid to arrest a decline which saw them only avoid the ignominy of relegation by one place.

The team also failed to make any impression in either the President's Cup or the Etisalat Cup.

Cosmin Olaroiu, the club's new Romanian head coach, plans to complete the overhaul of the squad by importing a striker to help fill the void left by the sale of Jose Sand, the star striker and former Pro League golden boot winner, to Mexican outfit Club Tijuana for an undisclosed fee.

"In the coming period we are looking to have the third player ... and bring him in as soon as possible," Mattar Al Shabani, the Al Ain football first-team manager, said.

Al Shabani is confident the player will join up with the squad for their pre-season training camp in Doha. The 42-strong party, including 27 players, left Dubai on Saturday for the capital of Qatar where they will train twice a day and play friendlies against Al Saad and Al Khuritat.

Shabani said the 16-day trip to Doha will help the coach iron out some "technical issues" and help restore them to the level which saw them win nine league titles, five President's Cups and the 2003 Asian Champions League.

"Cosmin put training programmes aiming at increasing the fitness level and concentration," Shabani said. "We are totally convinced that the team needs enough time with effort doubling in the coming period to come back strongly because Al Ain used to be on the top and please his fans by ascending the podium and winning the trophies locally, continentally and regionally."

Olaroiu will attempt to work on tactics, pattern of play and fitness without the services of Ali Al Wahabi, Musallam Fayez, Mohammed Abdurrahman, Yasser Al Qahtani, and Jaris Juma, who are all on international duty, while Scocco, is nursing an injury he picked up in the draw with Al Suwaiq.

"The coach is looking for the ideal atmosphere for training and the aim of having small group of the players is to get the training sessions well by the players chosen by the coach," Shabani said.

"I believe it is a good idea because when he trains 40 players things are less organised but when the number is fewer things on the pitch are more organised and controlled and coach will be able to check and rectify the mistakes clearly.

"However, the rest of the players will be doing training sessions under the supervision of Ahmed Abdullah in Al Ain. In fact, the left players in Al Ain are not out of the coach consideration especially the season is too long and we expect some obstacles and he needs them for such circumstances while they are playing in the reserve team."

Al Shabani revealed Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed, the club chairman, is playing a very hands-on role, checking "every detail accurately aiming at prepare all aspects of success".

"The board of directors want to change the last image of the last season and to recovery the position we used to have continentally not only locally," Al Shabani said.

"I wish things go well but football knows no expectations as it does when the team gives as much as they can on the pitch.

"Therefore we don't have promises to the fans that are the best factor of success. However, Al Ain is walking on the right road and this is what matters. I fully trust that the fans are looking forward to seeing Al Ain with the new style in the coming season."

* Compiled by The National staff with agency

Al Ain's friendly results

Riskoni (Italy) won 3-1
Palermo (Italy) lost 2-0
Logan (Austria) won 11-0
Wigan Athletic (England) 0-0
Budapest (Hungary) lost 2-0
Yanana lost 3-1 lost
Al Riffa won 6-1
Al Suwaiq drew 0-0
Al Shabab drew 1-1
Dubai won 2-0