x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Cerezo waits for coffers to open

The January transfer window has reached its half way stage, but Toninho Cerezo is still waiting for a green light from Al Shabab to enter the market.

Musawengosi Mguni, right, is one of Shabab's foreign players who could leave the club.
Musawengosi Mguni, right, is one of Shabab's foreign players who could leave the club.

DUBAI // The January transfer window has reached its half way stage, but Toninho Cerezo is still waiting for a green light from Al Shabab to enter the market. An interim committee, headed by Sami Ahmed Dhaien al Qamzi, is running the affairs of the club at the moment after Dr Ahmed Saeed bin Hazeem's resigned as chairman last month.

The committee has yet to make a decision on getting in new recruits in an attempt to revive the flagging fortunes of the defending champions, who are 10th in the 12-team Pro League, just three points off the bottom. There was speculation that the club would get rid of their three foreign professionals - the Brazilian midfielders Marcos Assuncao, Carlos Renato and the Zimbabwe forward Musawengosi Mguni - but no moves have been made in that direction yet.

"Untill now we haven't decided anything," said Cerezo, who last year guided Shabab to their first league title since 1995. "The club is in a difficult situation at the moment and we are all working together to change that. "We are still waiting for the formation of the board; waiting for people who will come and run the club. Until then, we cannot decide anything. "The coach cannot make these decisions - the decision has to be taken by the board and the coach together."

Time, however, is running short for Shabab who will be battling not just on the domestic front, but also in the AFC Champions League from next month. Cerezo hopes he can get a top striker in his ranks by then. "The only problem we are facing is the absence of a goalscorer," he said. Despite the need for a quality striker, Shabab turned in a complete team-performance on Tuesday night to beat Al Dhafra 3-1 in the Etisalat Cup.

"It is a good start to the second half of the season," said a pleased Cerezo. "We don't have a big group and many of them are young boys. But it is up to us to work hard and be well prepared for the second half of the season, and hopefully we will be successful." In last night's Etisalat Cup game, Al Shaab drew 1-1 against Al Khaleej. arizvi@thenational.ae