x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Ain face a tough time without Gyan

Coach Olaroiu focused on Shabab test in league on Wednesday.

ABU DHABI // Al Ain have kept Asamoah Gyan's injury confidential.

The Ghana international pulled up after chasing a through pass and then left the pitch after 30 minutes of the 4-0 demolition of Emirates in the Pro League on Friday.

"We are not in a position to reveal any details on the extent of Gyan's injury as we are still waiting for an official word from the team physician," said a spokesman for the club.

Gyan is doubtful for Al Ain's next two games, against Al Shabab in the league on Wednesday, and the President's Cup quarter-finals with Baniyas five days later.

Al Ain's next league game is against Ajman on January 14, and even if Gyan returns to full fitness, he may not be available as he is scheduled to join his national team for the African Cup of Nations from January 21 to February 10.

Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach, said he had a race against time to prepare for an important game ahead. "We have just four days to prepare with whatever available combination we are left with," the Romanian said. "Whatever the situation on Gyan and the rest of the injured players, we will go into this game with a very positive frame of mind.

"Shabab have proved to be one of the strongest teams and they are now in second position.

"They will also have the home advantage. However, with our determination and team spirit, we hope to play a strong game and return with another good result."

Al Ain are the only unbeaten team in the league and they are now five points clear at the top after nine games of the 22 to be played.

Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabia forward who has not played for more than a month after a leg injury, is expected to return. "Yasser was ready for our last game but I preferred not to take any risk and left him out against Emirates," said Cosmin, hinting the player's return against Shabab on Wednesday.

Ali Al Wehaibi, the UAE international wing attack, will also return after being left out from the last game while Waleed Salem, the captain and goalkeeper, is recovering from the injury head injury he sustained in the 3-1 win over Al Jazira two weeks ago.

"Al Wehaibi had a busy two months, playing for both the national team and the club," said Olaroiu. "He was exhausted and we gave him a break. I am not too sure of Waleed. We have four days and we'll see if he is fit to take his place in the line-up."

Meanwhile, Emirates are close to signing Lutfi Benzarti, the former coach of Baniyas.

"We are in talks with him but haven't finished the deal yet," said Saif Mohammed bin Saif, the team manager of the Ras Al Khaimah club.

"Our performance has not reached the same high level of the other teams. But we haven't given up hope and are looking forward to the January transfer window for some new players and hopefully a new coach."

apassela@thenational.ae