x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Al Jazira have 'right balance' thanks to South Korean signing

Two more signings for the Abu Dhabi club, while coach Bonamigo optimistic thanks to good preparations.

Shin Hyung-min, left, has joined Al Jazira.
Shin Hyung-min, left, has joined Al Jazira.

ABU DHABI //Al Jazira have signed Shin Hyung-min, the South Korean player, from Pohang Steelers, to complete their quartet of foreign players for the new Pro League season,

Shin, who can player as a defender or a defensive midfielder, signed has signed a two-year contract with the Abu Dhabi club and will join them in time for the pre-season training in Austria.

"We have gone for Korean players because they are among the best in Asia," Mohammed Al Hameli, a member of the club's board of directors, said when Shin was officially unveiled at the Club on Thursday night.

Shin, 26, was drafted in as the club's Asian player after his compatriot Lee Yong-rae of the four-time K-League champions Suwon Bluewings failed a medical test last week.

"With Shin's signing we feel we have now got the right balance in the squad," added Al Hameli. "We had a few players short listed and we signed him after Lee, whom we were to sign, failed the medical."

Shin will wear the No 20 shirt for the 2011 Pro League champions this season as they look to regain the title from Al Ain after a disappointing campaign last season that saw them finish in fourth place - a distant 20 points off top spot.

He has experience of playing at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium as he was a member of the Pohang Steelers team that won the 2009 Asian Champions League winners and then played in the 2009 Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

"Having played in the ACL I have am quite familiar with the leading clubs in Asia and I know Jazira is one of the big clubs in the continent," Shin said.

"I was impressed by the infrastructure and facilities on my first visit to the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium. It is my first time to play for a club outside Korea and I am very excited.

"It wasn't a difficult decision to make when I got this offer from Jazira. I am aware they are ambitious to win all the domestic titles and the ACL.

"I like challenges too and I will do my best to help them achieve their goals."

Shin, who has eight international cap, replaces Lucas Neill as Jazira's Asian player. The Australian defender left after one season at the club.

"I have come to play football and I am prepared in playing under any condition," Shin said when asked if he enjoyed playing in the harsh weather conditions, particularly towards the beginning and end of the season in the UAE.

"When I decided to move to the Gulf, I knew the conditions I will have to play in. I am prepared, both mentally and physically to face any challenges."

Fernandinho, the Brazilian forward, was Jazira's other new foreign summer signing.

He will play alongside Ricardo Oliveira in attack, who is in his starting his fourth season at the club, and Matias Delgado, the Argentine midfielder whose contract was recently extended until 2015.

Meanwhile, Paulo Bonamigo’s squad will leave for training camp in Austria on a high after registering two wins and a draw in the four-team friendly competition they hosted this week.

The team travel to Austria on the third day after Eid to prepare for the season, which starts next month, under their new coach.

Bonamigo left Al Shabab to join the Abu Dhabi side and has seen his side beat Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s Al Warka while drawing with Kuwait’s Al Qadsia over the past few days in a pre-season tournament.

“It is a competition where we had the opportunity to try out different combinations and also see all the players in action,” Mohammed Salem Al Enazi, the Jazira team manager, said.

“The first phase of the preparation has gone well. The coach tried out several combinations and provided the opportunity for the all the players except for the new Korean player [Shin Hyung-min].

“The coach is quite satisfied by the team’s progress from the training we have had so far and the matches we have played in this hot weather.”

Jazira will spend two weeks in Austria and a week in Qatar before returning to base on time for the Super Cup against the Pro League champions Al Ain on September 15. They have four friendlies scheduled in Austria and two in Qatar.

“Our goals [this season] are very clear. We want to win as many domestic titles as we can and to do better than we did in the ACL last season. We have a very strong squad and with a bit of luck we are confident of achieving our goals,” Al Enazi said.

apassela@thenational.ae