x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Kalba are up for a Pro League relegation scrap

Ze Mario's side are on the brink of top-flight relegation.

Kalba's head coach Ze Mario.
Kalba's head coach Ze Mario.

DUBAI // Ze Mario will not give up hope that Kalba can avoid relegation until it is mathematically impossible.

With four games to play, Kalba are at the bottom of the Pro League with 10 points, with Dibba Al Fujairah four points above them and Al Shaab on 18.

Ze Mario's men will be playing three of those matches at home, and the Brazilian is hoping his team can make the most of that advantage, starting with a win over Al Wasl.

"We are in an unenviable position," the coach said. "There is no option ahead of us, but to win each of our remaining four matches. Any other result would mean the club heading back to Division One. So while the task for us is really difficult, we will cling to our slim hopes and fight till the final minutes, because nothing is impossible in football.

"Mathematically, we still have a chance and we need to come together as one - the players, the management and the fans - and seize this opportunity.

"I have great confident in my team and their ability to fight. Plus, we will be playing at home, with the fans backing us. So I hope we can finally get a win, because it is essential to our hopes of surviving in the Pro League for next season."

Kalba have only three wins in 22 league matches this season, the last of which came against Al Nasr in February. Earlier in the first half, they had defeated Dibba and Al Dhafra and split points with Dubai.

However, the Wasl manager, Eid Baroot, has warned his players against taking their opponents lightly.

"We should win this game and improve our position on the points table," Baroot said.

"But we should be careful and not make the mistake of taking our opponents lightly.

"If you look at our matches this season, we have lost to Dibba and Al Dhafra, and won against the higher-ranked teams.

"This means we have a mentality problem and the players need to take every game seriously and play at the same level all the time, no matter which team we are playing."

The visitors will be missing four players for the game. Saud Saeed, Cameroonian midfielder Achille Emana and goalkeeper Ahmed Mahmoud are injured, while Fahd Hadeed is suspended.

In their absence, Rashid Ali will don the gloves and Maher Jassem, Hassan Ali and Mohammed Jamal could get a start.

arizvi@thenational.ae