x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Ain land Al Qahtani as Jazira wait on Vercauteren deal

Al Jazira refuse to confirm deal with Belgian coach as their Abu Dhabi rivals snap up Al Qahtani.

Al Jazira officials said yesterday they still had not confirmed an agreement with Franky Vercauteren to be their coach, but declined to give further details of their negotiations.

Vercauteren, who coached Racing Genk to the Belgian league championship last season, was in Abu Dhabi on Monday amid speculation that he had taken the job at Jazira.

The FA's website even had a post announcing he had taken over, but club officials have continued to insist that a contract has not been signed.

Also yesterday, Al Ain landed the Saudi Arabia captain and striker Yasser Al Qahtani for €2 million (Dh10.4m) on a one-year deal.

Al Ain officials declined to comment because of the club's new policy to announce news only in press conferences, but Al Arabiya and several other football web sites confirmed the signing.

Al Qahtani becomes Al Ain's Asian foreign player, as per the guidelines laid out by the Asian Football Confederation, on the three-plus-one rule, for clubs to sign four foreign players including one with an Asian passport.

The 28 year old from the Saudi powerhouse Al Hilal is well known in this part of the world, and is a valuable addition in the club's Romanian coach's Cosmin Olaroiu's squad, that also include Ignacio Scocco of Argentina and Mirel Radoi of Romania.

They are yet to sign their fourth foreigner to complete their overseas quota.

Al Qahtani began his career with the Saudi club Al Qadisiyah in 2003 and moved to Hilal two years later for a record US$5.33 million (Dh19.6m).

He has won 87 international caps for his country and scored 59 goals. He was also on trial with Manchester City when Sven-Goran Eriksson was in charge.

The English Premier League club negotiated with the player and his club, but the two sides could not reach an agreement and Al Qahtani returned to Saudi Arabia.

Al Ain are preparing for a friendly tournament they are hosting from Saturday.

It involves Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait's Al Qadsiya and Al Rafa of Bahrain, and played in a round robin league with the team with the highest points crowned champions.

Al Wahda meanwhile went down 2-1 to Al Nahda of Oman on Monday in the first of their two friendly matches at the Al Nahyan stadium. Mohammed Younus and Dani gave the visitors a 2-0 lead with Saeed Al Kathiri pulling back for Wahda from the penalty spot.

ncameron@thenational.ae


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Paul Radley on @NeilCameron5