x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Future looks bright for Baniyas

Jorge da Silva's side taking shape ahead of the new season

AbuDhabi, United Arab Emirates- July,17, 2013: (C) Baniyas club new coach Jorge da Silva and the players during the training at the Baniyas Stadium in AbuDhabi . ( Satish Kumar / The National ) For Sports / Story by Amit Passela *** Local Caption *** SK100-Baniyas-04.jpg
AbuDhabi, United Arab Emirates- July,17, 2013: (C) Baniyas club new coach Jorge da Silva and the players during the training at the Baniyas Stadium in AbuDhabi . ( Satish Kumar / The National ) For Sports / Story by Amit Passela *** Local Caption *** SK100-Baniyas-04.jpg

ABU DHABI // Baniyas have high hopes for 2013/14 after finishing last season with the Gulf Clubs Championship trophy and a creditable fourth-place in the league.

"Our objectives are obviously to win all the titles," Abdullah Al Harthi, the club's new manager, said.

"However, thinking realistically, we want to improve on the fourth-place in the league and aim on winning the two cup competitions.

"We had an excellent last season. It was a massive improvement after a disappointing one the previous year in the league."

Baniyas were runners-up behind Al Jazira in 2010/2011 in the first season after their promotion to the top flight but followed it up with ninth in 2011/12.

"We had one good season followed by a disappointing one, but we certainly want don't to repeat this trend," Al Harthi said.

"We have a good blend of local and foreign players.

"A majority of the Emirati players are young and with high technical skills.

"We have also given first-team contracts to 10 under-19 players, including two who are in the UAE squad for the U17 World Cup.

"So the future looks bright."

Baniyas have appointed Uruguayan Jorge da Silva as their new coach and have also nearly finalised their foreign quartet for the new season.

Andre Senghor, 27, the Senegalese striker who has top-scored for the club in all three seasons since Baniyas were promoted, will keep his place.

Christian Wilhelmsson, 33, the Swedish midfielder who joined during the mid-season transfer window in 12/13, has been given a contract extension.

Abdulsalam Al Mukhaini, 25, the Oman international defender, comes in for the Australian midfielder Nick Carle as the club's Asian player.

The club are still on the lookout for a fourth foreigner after Mauro Formica, the Argentine midfielder who was set to join from English Championship club Blackburn Rovers, failed a medical.

Formica, 25, was to replace Mohamed Zidan, the Egyptian forward who has a contract to July 2014, but missed most of the first half of the season with a hamstring injury.

"The technical committee along with the coach will soon arrive at a decision on the fourth foreigner, and apart from it, the composition of the squad is complete," Al Harthi said.

"There have been a few movements of the players, some out and some in, but definitely the squad looks strengthened and well-balanced, and has the quality to match any top teams."

Mohammed Al Attas and Jassim Johar are the two exciting prospects who will be with the national team for the U17 World Cup, which the UAE will host from October 18 to November 8.

Baniyas have lost three key players - with the midfielder Sultan Al Ghaferi moving to Al Ain, the forward Fareed Ismail to Jazira, and left-back Ibrahim Saeed to Al Dhafra.

However, they have had Emirati arrivals, too. Mohammed Bargash and Ahmed Al Mahri have arrived from Jazira, Bilal Malallah from Al Nasr, Adnan Bisho from Al Shaab, Eisa Al Kaabi and Ahmed Malallah from the relegated Dibba Al Fujairah.

 

apassela@thenational.ae