x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Ahmed Al Mahri on the move

Former UAE national side player optimistic at first-team opportunities with Baniyas as Fareed Ismail heads to Al Jazira, writes Amith Passela.

Ahmed Al Mahri joined Al Jazira in 2006 but struggled his last two seasons with the club so he was sent to Baniyas on Sunday. Jeff Topping / The National
Ahmed Al Mahri joined Al Jazira in 2006 but struggled his last two seasons with the club so he was sent to Baniyas on Sunday. Jeff Topping / The National

ABU DHABI // Al Jazira have swapped Ahmed Al Mahri, their diminutive midfielder, for the Baniyas forward Fareed Ismail.

Al Mahri, 25, becomes the fourth Emirati player to sign for Baniyas this summer, joining Jazira teammate Mohammed Bargash and Eisa Al Kaabi and Ahmed Malallah, who left Dibba Al Fujairah after the club were relegated.

"I am very excited because this move may provide me the opportunity to play in the first team," said Al Mahri, who has struggled to establish himself in the Jazira line-up over the past two seasons. "Baniyas are one of the most improved teams in the Arabian Gulf League and I am looking forward to play my part and help them achieve their objectives in the upcoming season."

Last season, Baniyas won the Gulf Clubs Championship, finished a creditable fourth in the league and reached the quarter-finals of the President's Cup.

Al Mahri broke into the first team at Jazira in 2006 and won a place in the UAE national side the following year. He has 17 international caps.

"I spent all my time playing for Jazira, and have had a great time, but the time has come for me to move on to where I can hopefully get to play regularly," he said.

Jorge da Silva, the new coach of Baniyas, is expected to arrive in the UAE on Friday and begin work three days later to prepare the side for a three-team friendly tournament during Ramadan.

Meanwhile, the Pro League Committee has announced that the draw ceremony for the 2013/14 season will be held on July 26 at 10pm at the headquarters of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare in Dubai.

The draw will be made for the Arabian Gulf League as well as the Etisalat Cup, which is running under a new formatfrom this season.

apassela@thenational.ae

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