x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Uzbek striker Geynrikh is fluent in the language of football at Emirates

Though the Uzbek may struggle to communicate with his new teammates, the striker tells Ahmed Rizvi why he made a loan move to Emirates.

Alexander Geynrikh is enjoying life at Emirates.
Alexander Geynrikh is enjoying life at Emirates.

Moving from one of Asia's top clubs to the humble settings of Emirates might seem an odd journey to make, especially for a player at his peak.

But Alexander Geynrikh has good reasons for the switch from South Korea's Suwon Bluewings to the Ras Al Khaimah Pro League club. "The problem was that I couldn't find a common language to communicate with the coach," said the Uzbekistan player.

"This was the main reason I decided to leave South Korea."

The Bluewings had signed Geynrikh on loan from the Tashkent club Pakhtakor after his two stunning goals against South Korea in the third-place game at the Asian Cup in Qatar last year.

The striker scored on his debut for Suwon, but he never felt comfortable in his new surroundings because of the language barrier.

He had faced similar issues as a boy, when he moved to Germany to fine-tune his game, and he was back in Uzbekistan in no time.

"I went there when I was very young, but I did not like it at all," said Geynrikh, who is of partial German descent.

"It's not my style of football. I ran away back to Uzbekistan. I like technical football."

Language is an issue at Emirates, as well, but Geynrikh has company in Ras Al Khaimah. Following a disappointing first half to the season the team have changed three of their foreign players, bringing in Modibo Diarra and, thankfully for Geynrikh, his Uzbekistan teammate Jasur Hasanov.

There are a few other Uzbeks in the Pro League including Azizbek Haydarov, another international, and Geynrikh is on the telephone with them on a daily basis.

But it is the presence of Hasanov which is most important to Geynrikh, 27.

"It's good that Hasanov is with me," Geynrikh said. "He is from the national team so that makes my job here easier. We talk a lot, we eat together. It's good to have him because then I don't feel lonely here."

As for the language barrier with his other teammates, Geynrikh said that mattered little in a battling performance on his debut against Al Ahli last Wednesday. He suffered a bloody nose in the game, but played on with cotton wool stuffed into his nostrils.

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"Yes, there are a few language barriers," Geynrikh said as a friend translated from Russian to English. "Maybe, I feel a little uncomfortable, but I have been here only a few days. Still, I think I can express myself, explain myself.

"The main thing is I understand the language of football. That's the most important thing. The rest is not so important."

Geynrikh's footballing skills have seen him play for two Moscow clubs - CSKA and Torpedo - as well as Suwon.

He has also been an important member of the Pakhtakor team, and has joined Emirates on a five-month loan from the club in the Uzbekistan capital.

"I enjoyed my time at every club," Geynrikh said. "Every club taught me something - to become a more professional player, to work harder and improve myself."

The Uzbek is now hoping to put all his experience to use and help Emirates not just survive in the Pro League but achieve a respectable finish.

With seven points from their last three matches, the club have moved to 10th in the table - one more than Sharjah and three ahead of Dubai.

Their recent performances have given the team and their fans a lift and Emirates are in a confident mood as they travel to Sharjah for a crucial match tonight.

"Without a doubt, it is a very important match for both the teams," said Lutfi Benzarti, the Emirates coach.

"It will not be easy, but our goal will be to get the maximum points from this game and the following matches. We cannot afford any more defeats if we hope to achieve our ambitions of staying in the Pro League.

"I am confident in the ability of our players to achieve our targets and overcome this difficult situation, as we showed in the match against Al Ahli. We showed great fighting spirit and that is a good sign moving forward."

Emirates shocked Ahli 2-1 in their last match, but the midfielder Haitham Ali wants his teammates to focus entirely on Sharjah.

"It was a good win, but we need to forget about Ahli and concentrate on the upcoming matches," he said.

Yousuf Abdullah, the team manager, is confident his players can achieve their goals through their "fighting and energetic performances".

"We know Sharjah are a strong team and have a lot of respect for them," he said.

"We are certainly not going to take them lightly just because they lost 5-0 to Al Jazira. So we will have to be cautious and prudent, but I am confident our team has the potential to win this game and stretch the gap [over Sharjah] to four points."

 

 

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