x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pro League: Emirates boost their ranks

Emirates say their addition of Argentine star German Herrera will not just aid their squad but also boost other players in the league.

German Herrera, left, will be lining up for Emirates this coming Pro League season.
German Herrera, left, will be lining up for Emirates this coming Pro League season.

DUBAI // Emirates have added more firepower to their squad ahead of the Pro League play-offs with the addition of Argentine striker German Herrera.

The Ras Al Khaimah club, who have retained the services of Ivory Coast striker Modibo Diarra and added attacking midfielder Hassan Maatouk of Lebanon to their squad earlier this month, have signed a season long deal with the former Under-20 international.

Herrera, 28, has spent the last three seasons at Brazilian club Botafogo, where he scored 50 goals in 101 matches and helped his team win the Campeonato Carioca (the Rio de Janeiro state championship) in 2010.

Mohammed Gobash, a member of Emirates board of director, is expecting the Argentine to play a big part in their bid to return to the Pro League.

"The arrival of Herrera will not just strengthen the squad, but give a boost to the other players," he said.

"In our opinion, Herrera is one of the best in the world at his job, and his success with clubs in Europe and Latin America proves that.

"We now hope he will be able to show the same kind of success here with Emirates."

Herrera, who has 130 career goals to his name, had previously played for Spain's Real Sociedad and Brazilian giants Corinthians and began his career at Argentine club Rosario Central in 2003.

Emirates, who have also brought in striker Suroor Salem from Al Shabab, will open their campaign in the four-team play-off on September 4 against Al Shaab at the Ajman stadium.

On the same day, Sharjah will take on Al Dhafra in Al Ain.

On September 9, Emirates will meet Dhafra at Al Wasl, while Sharjah and Shaab will square-off at Al Ahli.

The final round of the play-offs is scheduled for September 14, when Shaab and Dhafra will meet in Al Ain, and Emirates will take on Sharjah at Shaab stadium.

Two teams from the play-offs will qualify for the new 14-team Pro League.

Dhafra, who will start their preparations for the play-offs Sunday, before leaving for a two-week camp to Germany later in the week, have added local player to their squad following a loan agreement with Al Ain for Saif Mohammed.

Dhafra have signed two former UAE national team captains earlier, Abdulsalaam Juma and Mohammed Qassim, alongside a number of other players from Al Khaleej and Al Ain. They have also brought in former Al Wasl player Alexander Oliveira, who joins Brazilian compatriot Pinga and Senegalese striker Makhete Diop at the Western Region club.

Elsewhere, Shabab have signed a three-year deal with Al Wasl striker Abdullah Abdulrahman, while UAE Olympic team star Abdulaziz Sanqour has signed for Al Ahli in a deal which will see six of their players move in the opposite direction to Sharjah on loan for one season.

Reports in Argentina, meanwhile, claim Martin Rolle is about to leave Olimpo for Al Wasl. Argentine club River Plate are also interested in the 27-year-old attacking midfielder, but the player himself is keen on a move to Diego Maradona's team.

Wasl, after a disappointing season when they finished eighth in the Pro League, have retained only one of their four foreign players from last season, Argentine Mariano Donda.

The new management of the club have decided against renewing the contracts Argentine midfielder Juan Ignacio Mercier, Uruguayan striker Juan Manuel Olivera and Mohammed Reza Khalatbari of Iran.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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