x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Branko Ivankovic a factor in Al Wahda's new signing

Club's new Asian player Dino Djulbic says he turned down offers from Qatar, South Korea and Japan to reunite with Al Wahda's coach, explains Amith Passela.

Dino Djulbic, right, displays his new kit top with Abdullah Salem, the Al Wahda team manager.
Dino Djulbic, right, displays his new kit top with Abdullah Salem, the Al Wahda team manager.

ABU DHABI // Al Wahda's new centre-back signing Dino Djulbic has revealed he rejected offers from Qatar, China, South Korea, and Japan to be reunited with Branko Ivankovic, the coach of the Abu Dhabi-based Pro League club.

The naturalised Australian replaces the injured Omani Mohammed Al Balushi as Wahda's Asian player after moving from the Chinese club Guizhou Renhe on a two-year deal, and he said Ivankovic, whom he had played under at China's Shandong Luneng, had been the decisive factor in him coming to the UAE.

"I had a good season in China and, of course, when you do well there is a lot of offers but I decided to join this club, and one big thing was because of the coach, whom I knew when he was in China," Djulbic said.

"I know he is a very successful coach and what he can do. That's one big reason.

"And the other is because Wahda are traditionally a top club in the country."

Djulbic, 29, was born in Bosnia and became a naturalised Australian in 1995.

And after 10 days in Abu Dhabi he is already feeling at home.

"The club is already like a big family and that was another big thing for me," he said

Ivankovic is hopeful the new signing will adapt in time to face Al Ain in the Etisalat Cup on January 17.

"Like every player Dino needs time," the Croatian said.

"First of all he has to get used to the time difference between China and the Emirates.

"He has trained only for three days and needs to adapt with his new teammates."

Djulbic, who will wear the No 6 shirt for Wahda, as he has done at his previous two clubs, added: "I have been training for three days.

"All the players have welcomed me and the football they play is great.

"I am now waiting for the paper work to be completed so I can play as soon as I can."

 

apasselsa@thenational.ae

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