x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Wahda are in talks with Sasa Ognenovski

Abu Dhabi team hope to partner the Australia international defender with Hamdan Al Kamali, the UAE international centre-back and Olympic team captain.

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda are in talks with Sasa Ognenovski, the Australia international who they are hoping to lure to Abu Dhabi as their Asian player.

If they are successful, the 2010 Asian Footballer of the Year would form a formidable central defensive partnership with Hamdan Al Kamali, the UAE international centre-back and Olympic team captain, who was the subject of interest from the French club Lyon this summer.

Wahda are in contact with Ognenovski's South Korea club Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma regarding his transfer but face competition from FC Seoul, the South Korean champions.

"We have made him an offer and are also in talks with his present club," Khaled Awadh, Wahda's assistant chief executive, said. "We are aware he is in demand but we are still open for negotiations. At the end, it is up to him to decide where he goes. Only time will tell where he is headed to, but the door is open for him at Al Wahda. If he decides to sign for us, it will be a great addition."

Awadh is excited at the prospect of Al Kamali playing alongside Ognenovski at the back.

"They will not only establish a solid defensive partnership but be useful in attack, as they have both proved without any doubt that they can score from set pieces," he said.

Ognenovski scored in the 4-1 win against Wahda in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December as Seongnam reached the semi-finals.

Ognenovski, 32, will be in action tonight when the Socceroos face Saudi Arabia in the third round of Asian 2014 World Cup qualifing in Dammam. He will be joined in defence by Lucas Neill, the Australia captain, who has joined Al Jazira.

Should he opt for a move to the UAE, Ognenovski will be the club's Asian passport holder and will join Fernando Baiano, Magrao and Hugo as the club's foreign contingent.

apassela@thenational.ae