x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Goalkeeper inspired by new recruits

Goalkeeper Mutaz Abdullah says Al Shaab should now be challenging for silverware in the Arabian Gulf League.

Goalkeeper Mutaz Abdulla says Al Shaab is ready to challenge for silverware.
Goalkeeper Mutaz Abdulla says Al Shaab is ready to challenge for silverware.

Al Shaab may have narrowly avoided relegation last season, but the goalkeeper Mutaz Abdullah said they should now be challenging for silverware.

The experienced custodian, who has previously represented Al Ain and Al Wahda, extended his contract with the Sharjah side earlier this summer, having joined in January from Emirates club.

Abdullah added experience to a starting line-up that, right until the final round of the 2012/13 Pro League, were scrapping to stay in the UAE top flight.

In the end, Kalba and Dibba Al Fujairah were consigned to the First Division.

A revamp of the squad has provided Abdullah with new-found optimism going into next season, with Shaab again busy in the transfer market this past week.

They have added to their roster Julius Wobay, the Sierra Leone playmaker, and Billy Celeski, the Australian midfielder.

A collection of fresh Emirati talent had already been recruited.

"Shaab are no stranger to success, as they lifted the President's Cup in 1993, as well as having reached four other finals," Abdullah said. "I didn't come to the club only to fight for survival, but to help it win titles. I have been successful throughout my career, whether it was with Al Ain, Al Wahda or the UAE national team."

Abdullah, 38, says the club's management has taken the necessary steps to ensure Shaab are more competitive in the Arabian Gulf League, although the Emirati did ask for patience regarding their new foreign players.

Shaab kick off their campaign next month at home to Al Jazira.

Elsewhere, Al Ahli will allow Essam Dhahi, their recently purchased defender, to return to Al Shabab on a season-long loan as part of any potential deal to bring Ciel to the Rashid Stadium.

Ahli have expressed an interest in signing the Brazilian from their Dubai rivals, with the Shabab board yet to decide whether to do business.

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae

 

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