x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Al Wahda to sign Australia defender Dino Djulbic

Pro League side swoop for Bosnian-born centre-back to replace Omani defender Mohammed Al Balushi, who has not played this season.
Australia's Dino Djulbic, centre, earned his first international call-up last month for the East Asian Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong. Gareth Gay / Getty Images
Australia's Dino Djulbic, centre, earned his first international call-up last month for the East Asian Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong. Gareth Gay / Getty Images

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda are set to unveil Australian international Dino Djulbic as the club's new overseas signing after the defender completed his medical at the club.

According to club sources, the 29-year-old Bosnian-born centre-back will be introduced once his paperwork is completed.

Djulbic replaces Mohammed Al Balushi, the Oman international, as the club's Asian player when the transfer window opens on Monday. The 6-foot-2 defender is expected to form an imposing rear-guard pairing with Hamdan Al Kamali, the stylish UAE defender, when the latter returns from Gulf Cup duty.

Wahda extended the loan period of Al Balushi in the summer by another year but he has not featured in a single game this season after picking up an injury in Oman's 2-1 win over Jordan in the 2014 World Cup qualifier in October.

When the formalities are complete, Djulbic will join the four-time UAE champions on a two-year contract from Guizhou Renhe, whom he helped finish fourth in the Chinese Super League this season, where his performances earned him a spot in the competition's all-star team.

He earned his first call-up to the Australia national team last month when he was named in Holger Osieck's 20-man squad for the East Asian Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong, winning his maiden cap in Australia's 9-0 thumping of Guam.

Djulbic will become Wahda's third signing of the winter transfer window after the Abu Dhabi club also snapped up Emirati players Adil Saqr of Kalba on a three-year deal and Abdulla Traoure of Al Ahli on a six-month loan.

Wahda have also confirmed the return of Eric Mouloungui, the Gabon international, who suffered an ankle injury during Wahda's pre-season training camp in Germany, for the second half of the season.

He will replace Marcelo Oliveira, the Brazilian forward from Sharjah, who was drafted as a cover.

"Eric has already started work with us," Branko Ivankovic, the Wahda coach, said. "We know his potential but at the same time we must understand that he has not played for a long time. So we can only wish he can deliver for us as quickly as possible."

The coach added he was happy with his foreign recruits so far, highlighting the impact of the Senegalese forward Papa Waigo.

"Papa Waigo is our leading scorer and I believe he can get better in the second half of the season," Ivankovic said. "Our main task this season was to rebuild this team for 2013/14 but that doesn't mean we don't have the ambitions to win a title or two."

Wahda have enjoyed a steady season so far and sit seventh in the Pro League at the halfway stage. They meet Al Nasr tonight in the Etisalat Cup, in which they are at the top of Group A, and meet Al Jazira in the last eight of the President's Cup next month.

apassela@thenational.ae