x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pro League: New Al Wasl recruit Kaio picked from a list of 300

Club's first signing of the summer says the pressure to lift team back to the top of UAE football will only motivate him to succeed next season.

The 25-year-old Brazilian Kaoi Felipe Goncalves was introduced to his Al Wasl teammates at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai. Duncan Chard for The National
The 25-year-old Brazilian Kaoi Felipe Goncalves was introduced to his Al Wasl teammates at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai. Duncan Chard for The National

DUBAI // Al Wasl's first signing of the summer says the pressure to lift the club back to the top of UAE football will only motivate him to succeed next season.

Kaio Felipe Goncalves, known simply as Kaio, was introduced to a crowded press room at the Zabeel Stadium yesterday, having signed from Yokohama FC, a side in Japan's second division.

Wasl refused to discuss the details of the transfer, only confirming that they expect his contract to be "long lasting".

However, the Brazilian striker is convinced he will not take long to become familiar with UAE football, and believes he can help restore his new club to former glory.

"[The expectation] will push me to give my best for the team and support them as best I can so I adapt quickly to the league," said Kaio, 25.

"I have high aims and goals with Al Wasl and I'm looking forward to getting all the championships.

"I've watched recorded matches of the team and know they've great players and a great fan base here. However, we will work in the future to further the Al Wasl name."

Kaio, who has formerly played in his homeland with Atletico Paranaense and for Japan's Cerezo Osaka, said he rejected four offers from clubs in Italy, Russia and the UAE.

Before making his decision, he discussed the possibility of joining Wasl with Leonardo Lima, Ricardo Oliveira and Fernandinho, compatriots already playing in the Pro League.

Abullah Hareb, the Wasl chairman, said the club's committee reviewed more than 300 names before deciding on Kaio, and that Laurent Banide, the new coach, had agreed to the transfer.

"Once he had seen the shortlist, the coach was interested in the choice of the committee and in the player's talent and style," Hareb said.

"He is confident he will help the team next season."

Harib also said Wasl will work diligently to fill their foreign quota - Mariano Donda, the Argentine midfielder, is returning from a serious knee injury - but that they will not augment their squad with any more Emiratis.

Donda was also in attendance at the conference, and adding: "I feel good. All the time I say that my next season started four months ago when I had the operation, when I decide to start the recovery.

"We welcome Kaio to the club. This team is a good team but we must show it on the pitch. And we will work hard to help him do his best next season."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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