x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dubai look to newcomers to kick start their poor Pro League season

Ayman Al Ramadi, Dubai's coach, remains optimistic about his team with new signees Denilson and Abbas Ahmed Atwi arriving.

Dubai are looking to newly acquired Denilson, above, and Abbas Ahmed Atwi to help get their Pro League season going.
Dubai are looking to newly acquired Denilson, above, and Abbas Ahmed Atwi to help get their Pro League season going.

Ayman Al Ramadi, the Egyptian coach of Dubai, has confidence in the club's two new foreign recruits to help them beat the drop in the Pro League.

After announcing the return of the veteran Brazilian striker Denilson last month, the Al Aweer club have made another change, bringing in Abbas Ahmed Atwi, a Lebanese midfielder.

The pair replace the Moroccan striker Nabil Daoudi and Ulugbek Bakayev, the Uzbek forward, while Simon Feindouno and Abubakr Camara have retained their place among Dubai's quota of foreign players.

Dubai have only five points from nine Pro League matches and lie second from the bottom, two points above Emirates. Two of those points may be taken away from them shortly - their 1-1 draw with Sharjah was credited as a 3-0 win after their opponents fielded a player deemed ineligible. Sharjah have appealed the decision.

Dubai face Al Wasl on Thursday evening, and Denilson is expected to lead the attack against Diego Maradona's team.

"I am not concerned about the progress of Dubai in the Pro League, though we have only five points at this stage," said Al Ramadi, who is the club's fourth coach this season. "My optimism comes from the players we have. We are a good team, and the arrival of new players will make us stronger.

"We all know what Denilson is capable of. He is a striker of the highest calibre and has proven it in many different leagues. He is certainly a valuable addition."

Denilson, 35, played for Dubai earlier in his career, spending two seasons from 2002 to 2004. He has also spent four seasons with Al Nasr and Al Shabab before moving to Mexico and then South Korea.

The Brazilian scored four goals for Pohang Steelers at the 2009 Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, and that tally puts him at the top of the tournament's all-time scorers alongside Lionel Messi.

Atwi, 32, has spent his entire professional career, which started in 1997, at Nejmeh in Lebanon. He has won five championships and has also been voted the best player in Lebanon four times and has been the recipient of the best goal of the season title on three times.

The Lebanese will take over the role of the Asian player in the squad from Bakayev.

"Bakayev is a good player, but he suffers because of the communication gap with the other players," said Al Ramadi. "Language is a barrier for him."

Wasl, who are also looking to change two of their foreign professionals, moved a step closer towards landing the Argentine international Juan Ignacio Mercier.

The player's agent arrived in Dubai for talks, and the Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr, who had signed a two-year deal with the midfielder in July, have agreed on a financial settlement with the player and given Mercier the go-ahead.

Wasl are looking to replace Chile's Edson Puch, who has a four-year contract with the club, and Richard Porta. Ferydoon Zandi, the Iran international, is being tipped as Australian Porta's replacement to fill the Asian player's slot.

Another player from the Saudi league could be headed for Dubai, as Al Ahli are interested in Al Hilal's Achille Emana, according to media reports in Saudi Arabia.

The Cameroon international, who has played for Toulouse in France and the Spanish club Real Betis, arrived at the Saudi club in July, but has fallen out with his manager Thomas Doll.

Quique Sanchez Flores, the Ahli manager, knows Emana, 29, from his time coaching in Spain, and the club have approached Hilal for a six-month loan deal, reports said.