x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Pride and joy for Pagelsdorf as new recruits shine for Al Nasr

The Al Nasr manager shows his passion as the club wins their four-team invitational tournament.

DUBAI // Frank Pagelsdorf is not the most expressive of managers. On Monday night, though, you could see a different side to him as Al Nasr humbled Iranian giants Piroozi to win their four-team invitational tournament. Pagelsdorf was visibly bouncing after goals from Amer Mubarak Ghanem and Mohammed Malallah gave his team a 2-0 win. In his excitement, the German almost flattened his captain Mohammed Ibrahim.

"In six days we have played three games and most of the players have played all three matches," said Pagelsdorf, exhausted after his celebrations. "So you could see that they are tired, but you could also see that they put up a big fight. "That is good for the self-confidence, when you have a big fight and you win. The players see what you can do when you fight." Iranian Iman Mobali, one of 12 Nasr recruits, was the star of their triumph, winning both the player of the tournament and top scorer awards.

"Mobali is just one of the players," he added. "I am looking at all the 11 players on the field to fire and I am sure they can do it. "We have taken players with a lot of character and I am confident they will help us through the season." Pagelsdorf, who took over midway through last season, is hoping the new-found belief shown by his players will help end their 23-year league title drought. Nasr will start the season with a trip to Al Ain, but Pagelsdorf is not too worried.

"We had a good pre-season camp and played very good matches against strong teams," he said. "Now we are looking forward to the start." Meanwhile Abdullah al Kamali has signed for league champions Al Ahli after returning home from his stint with Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense. Al Kamali, 19, became the first Arab footballer to play in Brazil when he joined the club 18 months ago. He progressed rapidly from Paranaense's youth side to the first team squad, and returns home a much more experienced player.

"I am very happy to be joining Ahli," said al Kamali. "They are a champion side and will be playing in the Club World Cup. I will try to be the best ambassador of the club in every competition and hopefully achieve success." arizvi@thenational.ae