Dzemal Hadziabdic thought to himself Al Dhafra had potential. Now he gets to find out as the man in charge of bringing them through the play-offs to the Pro League.
Football: Bosnian is confident in lifting Al Dhafra
ABU DHABI // The heat will on the new coach of Al Dhafra in more than one sense Friday evening.
Dzemal Hadziabdic is likely to be sweating in the home dugout at the Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed stadium in Madinat Zayed as he attempts to integrate 14 new players into his squad in the first game of a four-team tournament played amid oppressive summer temperatures.
The pressure will be on the Bosnian, who has only been in the job for a month, to use the games against teams from Oman, Egypt and Libya to create a cohesive unit ahead of the round-robin play-offs next month to decide the make-up of the 14-team Pro League this season.
"It is not the ideal time to play games because of the humid weather but it gives us a good opportunity to experiment with new combinations," Hadziabdic said. "This tournament will give me an idea of what we have."
Dhafra have already played four games on a recent tour of Germany and one practice match on Tuesday. But Hadziabdic has since signed a raft of players, including seven from Al Ain, five of which are on loan. He has described the job at Dhafra as "marriage".
"After the marriage we have to adjust to each other's needs to lead a good married life," Hadziabdic said.
"Likewise I am in that process of working together to achieve the objectives of the club.
Hadziabdic already has an insight on Dhafra from his time at Fujairah, who he left to join the Abu Dhabi club.
"Fujairah played Dhafra twice and I knew they had the potential," Hadziabdic said.
"And being a club from Abu Dhabi they also have the means to invest on players. Hence I accepted the offer.
"We have a pretty decent blend of young and experienced players, and it is my task to turn them into a successful unit."
The job Hadziabdic performed at Fujairah clearly caught the eye of the executives at Dhafra. Fujairah had only two points when Hadziabdic took charge and he helped them to take their tally to 26 and keep them in the top tier of Division One.
Hadziabdic has worked in the region for two decades, including spells with Al Ain in 2002 and Al Shabab in 2004/2005.
"I have my own way of working and believe in carrying out my job with the talent we have at the club," Hadziabdic said.
"My outlook is to be realistic. I don't crib and look at excuses. Football is the only work I have been doing. I always want to do good work.
"I believe in myself. I work 100 per cent and this is all I know to do. When I work I work with my heart.
"I never give up."
Mussalam Al Ameri, the chairman of the club's board of directors, is confident they have found the right man to regain their place in the Pro League. "We had very little time to prepare for the play-offs," Al Ameri said.
"The coach has a big challenge turn this squad to a successful combination and we have a lot of faith with his experience he can take us through."
Hadziabdic has taken time out from putting his squad through their paces to watch the UAE Olympic team in London.
"I am not only impressed by their play but the confidence and tactical discipline they have shown on the pitch," Hadziabdic said.
"The game here in the region has improved remarkably and it is to improve."
AL DHAFRA's FRIENDLY TOURNAMENT FIXTURES
Dhafra v Seeb
Ismaily v Ahly
Dhafra v Ahly
Seeb v Ismaily
Ahly v Seeb
Dhafra v Ismaily
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