x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Nasr signing longs for a crown

Ali Boussaboun has played for some of the better clubs in Holland, but the Moroccan international has yet to win a championship medal.

Ali Boussaboun. Al Nasr's new signing, has his sights set on the league title.
Ali Boussaboun. Al Nasr's new signing, has his sights set on the league title.

DUBAI // Ali Boussaboun has played for some of the better clubs in Holland, including Feyenoord and FC Utrecht, and has also spent a season with Al Wakra in Qatar. But the Moroccan international has yet to win a championship medal. The same cannot be said of his new club Al Nasr - but it has been a long time since they last won the UAE league title. That was in 1986, when Boussaboun was a seven-year-old.

The "Blues" are determined to end their 23-year drought this season, and their new Dutch-Moroccan recruit is determined to help them achieve their goal and his own. "I have played for a long time and never taken a championship, so I hope I can do that with Al Nasr," said the 30-year-old striker. "I am coming here with big expectations because Nasr are a big club. They have got some good players, some national players as well. So I believe it is possible.

"I have heard we have not won the league for 23 years. God willing, we hope to change that and take the championship this year." Boussaboun's arrival from the Dutch club FC Utrecht completes Nasr's quartet of foreign players for next season. They had earlier signed the Ecuadorian international striker Carlos Tenorio, the Moroccan-Dutch playmaker Anouar Diba and the Iranian midfielder Iman Mobali. Nasr had Boussaboun in their sights for a long time, but were keen on getting a bigger star. According to sources, the club were negotiating with the Brazilian Nene before the striker, also a target of Arsenal, left Portuguese club Nacional da Madeira for Cagliari Calcio in Italy.

Talks were also held with the former Dutch and Bayern Munich star striker Roy Makaay before Nasr turned to Boussaboun and agreed on a one-year deal. "For me, it is a good step in my career," said Boussaboun, who will be wearing the No 19 jersey. "I have played in Qatar for one year, so I know a little about football in this region. I think it is similar. "I have also played a match against a team from Dubai for Al Wakra. We have got some good players with Tenorio and Diba - we are going to do well this year."

The Dubai team who Boussaboun played against are Nasr's traditional Zabeel rivals Al Wasl. "I got four in that game," he claimed, to cheers from the club's fans. The Moroccan, who started his professional career with ADO Den Haag in 1996, scored 18 goals for Wakra in 22 appearances in 2007-08. But he refused to set any personal targets for the forthcoming season. "It is important for me is to play good," he said. "If I make 10 goals or 15, so be it.

"But the most important thing is to achieve something this year, to win one of the three cups. I am hoping for the league championship. We need to play good football and bring the team to a higher level so that we can take the championship." arizvi@thenational.ae