x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sheikh Abdullah sets out Al Ain objectives in Arabian Gulf League

Al Ain have legacy, right coach high pedigree of players to 'hit all our targets', says the chairman. Report from John McAuley.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad, chairman of Al Ain, meets the players during their 2013 pre-season training camp. Courtesy Al Ain FC
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad, chairman of Al Ain, meets the players during their 2013 pre-season training camp. Courtesy Al Ain FC

Jorge Fossati, Al Ain's newest coach, may not have held his position for long, but he will fully understand what is required of him next season.

The double UAE champions are in Austria preparing their bid for a third straight top-flight title, and on Sunday were visited at their Lienz camp by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed, the chairman of the club's board of directors.

Sheikh Abdullah praised the work Fossati and his new charges have done thus far in a truncated pre-season the Uruguayan was installed midway through last month however, the chairman also used the opportunity to outline the club's lofty objectives for 2013/14.

While calling for the Pro League Committee and the Asian Football Confederation to avoid the heavy logjam of fixtures that affected last season's disappointing Asian Champions League campaign, Sheikh Abdullah added: "Our ambitions for the new season are higher now … Al Ain can win the Champions League.

"All's good now for Al Ain to hit their targets because we have a great coach, have won the Champions League before [in 2003] and all our local and foreign players are distinguished and the best in Asia."

Al Ain failed to progress from the group stages earlier this year, registering two victories from six matches.

Sheikh Abdullah reiterated the board's determination to lift the first Arabian Gulf League crown, too, although he predicted the domestic season will be Al Ain's most difficult yet, given the recent investment at contending rival clubs such as Al Ahli, Al Jazira, Al Nasr and Al Wahda.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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