x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ibrahim Diaky dedicates title to past Al Jazira players

The midfielder, who joined the Abu Dhabi club in 2004, also lauds Bare for an outstanding game in their 4-0 President's Cup triumph over Al Wahda.

Subait Khater, right, collected his fourth President's Cup medal, having won thrice at Al Ain.
Subait Khater, right, collected his fourth President's Cup medal, having won thrice at Al Ain.

ABU DHABI // Ibrahim Diaky, the Al Jazira midfielder and captain, dedicated the team's first ever President's Cup triumph to the club's former players.

"Some of the past players are not here to savour and celebrate this cup with us, but I am sure they will be very glad we finally ended a 37-year wait to achieve this," Diaky said after the 4-0 rout of city rivals Al Wahda last night at the Zayed Sports City stadium.

"There were great players like George Weah [the former World, European and African Player of the Year from Liberia], Phillip Cocu [the former Holland captain] and many Emirati players who tried hard to win a major title for the club.

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"This is for them too to rejoice when they hear about it. And for me and my colleagues, it has been a great journey. We have all worked very, very hard for this day and the happiness and the feeling among us is unbelievable. We thank our fans for coming tonight in full strength to be behind us. They were a great inspiration."

Diaky, who joined Jazira in 2004 from the Tunisian club Esperance, insisted they were confident of ending their trophy drought and the victory was a collective achievement on the pitch.

"We played a tactical game," he said. "Everyone did their job but Bare [the Brazilian striker] was outstanding in this game. It was his day and he helped us with his goals and the assist."

Bare scored twice and set up his compatriot Ricardo Oliveira for another before Ahmed Jumaa, a late substitute, gatecrashed the party with an injury time strike.

"This means a lot to me and a lot to the others as well," Diaky said. "The first title is always the most cherished and most remembered. This team will be part of the club's history and I am very proud to be a part of that."

Subait Khater and Helal Saeed were collecting their fourth President's Cup medals, having won it three times at Al Ain. "But this one is very special because it is a historic win for Jazira," Khater said.

"I think the best team on the night won. I hope we can now go on and complete the double by winning the Pro League. If we can win against Baniyas on Friday and win the next, then the league will surely be ours."

Khater and Saeed have also won five league titles with Al Ain before they crossed over to Jazira in the 2008/09 season. Jazira are 10 points ahead of the second placed Baniyas with seven matches left in the 12-team league.

The Wahda players were naturally disappointed. Hamdan al Kamali, their central defender, said they made one mistake in conceding an early goal and were punished.

"We made a defensive blunder to concede an early goal but we had several chances to get even, which we didn't," he said.

"We played a good attacking game but the goals didn't come. And the pressure mounted on us when the goals were not coming."

apassela@thenational.ae