Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Omar Abdulrahman delights Al Jazira fans at Yas Mall

UAE international played his first competitive club fixture in almost a year on Thursday, coming off the bench as Jazira beat Al Dhfra in their AGL opener

Omar Abdulrahman, centre, and Al Jazira teammates at the Al Jazira fan zone at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Omar Abdulrahman, centre, and Al Jazira teammates at the Al Jazira fan zone at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Omar Abdulrahman, the star UAE international playmaker, has promised his new fans at Al Jazira to expect big things from him and the team this season.

The 2016 Asian Player of the Year made his first competitive club fixture in almost a year on Thursday night, coming off the bench to help the Abu Dhabi club to a 2-0 win over Al Dhafra in their Arabian Gulf League opener.

It was the 28-year-old's first competitive club fixture in 11 months since suffering a serious knee injury playing for Al Hilal in a Saudi Pro League match last October.

“I’m delighted to be back playing for my new team Jazira and back in the Arabian Gulf League,” Abdulrahman told fans when he was called on stage during a meet and greet at Yas Mall on Friday.

“I not only want to score for the team but win games for them, and as a team, we want to play good football to entertain our fans as well. As players this is our objective for the club.”

Abdulrahman spent more than a decade at Al Ain before moving to Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al Hilal last year.

His playing time at Hilal was severely limited after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a Saudi Pro League match against Al Shabab Riyadh on October 20 that required surgery and kept him out of action for 11 months.

It also prevented him from playing for the national team in the Asian Cup, which the UAE hosted from January 5 to February 1.

Although not yet 100 per cent fit, Abdulrahman made his Jazira debut Thursday as a 75th minute substitute in the win over Dhafra at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium last Thursday.

“When you join a club like Jazira under the stewardship of Sheikh Mansour, you set no limits on your vision and aim very high,” Abdulrahman said.

“We have all-star players in the team, including top notch technical staff and management, and of course with the backing of our fans we will try to win all the titles for club, Insha Allah.”

Jazira paraded their first team, which also included their new overseas players Serbian Milos Kosanovic, Brazilian Marcos Franca, Thulani Serero of South Africa and Moroccan Mourad Batna at the fan zone at Yas Mall.

“This is the first time we are having such an event and the idea is to engage our faithful fans with the players and technical staff, and also encourage new fans to join our club,” said Ayed Mabkhout, chief executive officer of the club.

“We selected Yas Mall on a Friday because it’s one of the most happening places in the city on a weekend. Hopefully, this will be a step forward to engage our club with the community.”

Nick Garcia, the Group CEO, said they have plans to continue with more road shows to target new audiences and fans.

“We are going through a turnaround for unparalleled ownership in global football,” said Garcia who spent five years at Manchester City before moving to Jazira this summer.

“Fan support is critical in the success of any club and that’s why we are here tonight engaging them with the players and technical staff.

“This is not just a one off event but we have more lined up in the coming months. We want to get the fans into the stadium and be behind the team.

“Abu Dhabi is an incredible city to live and we want to create incredible match day experiences for more than 200 different cultures living here.”

Updated: September 21, 2019 02:54 PM

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