x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Al Wahda consider reinforcements following injuries to key players

With Ismail Matar, Eric Mouloungui and Anas Bani Yaseen all having fitness issues, coach Branko Ivankovic might look to Europe before the transfer market closes.

Eric Mouloungi will not be playing in the first half of the Pro League season due to an ankle injury. Lee Hoagland / The National
Eric Mouloungi will not be playing in the first half of the Pro League season due to an ankle injury. Lee Hoagland / The National

ABU DHABI // The UAE Pro League side Al Wahda are set to enter the transfer market following the news that Eric Mouloungui, the Gabon international, faces a lengthy absence after surgery on the ankle injury he suffered during pre-season training in Germany.

"We are talking about Eric at every meeting between the technical staff and the club management. It seems he is going to miss the first half of the season and that's a bit worrying for us," said manager Branko Ivankovic.

The Croatian head coach did not want to reveal any possible transfer targets, adding: "These issues are best left at the boardroom until a decision is reached.

"We have to find the best solution because it is not easy to find the player we want at this moment because the market in Europe is closed. We still have time, should we decide a replacement, as the transfer window here is open until the end of the month."

On top of Mouloungui's injury are also the fitness issues of Ismail Matar, the UAE international, and Anas Bani Yaseen, the Jordanian defender, ahead of Ivankovic's first game in charge when they face Al Nasr in the Etisalat Cup tomorrow night at the Al Maktoum stadium in Dubai.

Matar is recovering from a groin injury and Bani Yaseen picked up an injury while on international duty against Australia in the 2014 World Cup qualifier last week.

Still, Ivankovic is upbeat about his young team's chances this season.

"The first game is always very important to show our fans our quality and what we have done during the two months," he said.

"We have some exciting young players and also some of the seniors who didn't play much of the last season because of injuries. I am pretty confident this team can fulfil the ambitions of the fans and the club management."

In the other games, Al Dhafra return five days after being promoted for a meeting with Baniyas and Ajman will be at home for the promoted Dibba Al Fujairah.

apassela@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE