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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

New manager Laurentiu Reghecampf ready for challenge at Al Wahda

Romanian says they can achieve more as a team as he prepares Abu Dhabi club for new Arabian Gulf League season.

Romanian manager Laurentiu Reghecampf takes over at Al Wahda. Oli Scarff / AFP
Romanian manager Laurentiu Reghecampf takes over at Al Wahda. Oli Scarff / AFP

Laurentiu Reghecampf, the new Al Wahda manager, is confident that a focus on team ethic will help push the Abu Dhabi side on to challenge for trophies this season.

“I don’t want to talk much about myself but one thing I can say is football is a team sport and we need everyone to contribute to achieve our objective,” the Romanian said at a news conference yesterday.

Reghecampf, 41, replaced Javier Aguirre, who led Wahda to the Arabian Gulf Cup in 2016 and signed off by winning the President’s Cup in June.

“For me, to win a trophy is a very big challenge,” Reghecampf said. “I know I’m taking over one of the strongest teams in the country but football is a team sport and it is not only about the coach.

“I have to build a team and my work is to build a very strong team and then we can the challenge for the titles.”

Reghecampf is on a one-year contract and his first task will be to prepare the side for the Arab Cup in Egypt, which starts on July 22.

Wahda are drawn in group A alongside Egypt’s Al Ahly, Algerian side NA Hussein Dey and the newly-crowned Jordan Premier League champion Al Faisaly, whom they face in the opener.

“As we have had very little time, 10 days, to get the team ready, we will use this competition to prepare for the season,” Reghecampf said.

Wahda have a busy schedule as they are also in the 2018 Asian Champions League and challenging for four domestic titles.

“I know I’m a part of a big club and good organisation which want to do everything for the team,” the two-time Romanian Manager of the Year said.

Reghecampf led Steaua Bucharest to four Romanian league titles and led Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal to the runners-up spot in both the Saudi Crown Prince Cup and the Asian Champions League in 2015.

“I like the time I spent in Saudi Arabia where I had a big moment. I think the experience is going to help me here in the UAE,” Reghecampf said.

Wahda have one foreign player’s slot to fill, that of South Korean Rim Chang-woo, whose contract was not renewed by the club.

Otherwise, they have retained Argentine forward Sebastian Tagliabue for his fifth season, the Hungary captain Balasz Dszudszak and Moroccan Mourad Batna, who has joined as a replacement for Jorge Valdivia.

“The forward line looks strong as we have very good players but it’s not about one player,” Reghecampf said. “But I want to say with these three players we definitely have a chance to win some trophies.”