x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Watch out for UAE's Gulf Cup heroes as the Pro League returns

Amith Passela introduces the 23 players who featured in the regional tournament which Mahdi Ali's men won by beating Iraq in the final.

Omar Abdulrahman, who plays for Al Ain, was the player of the Gulf Cup this year. Pawan Singh / The National
Omar Abdulrahman, who plays for Al Ain, was the player of the Gulf Cup this year. Pawan Singh / The National

Ahmed Khalil (Al Ahli) With Grafite, the Brazilian striker serving a six-match ban, the young Emirati gets an opportunity to play alongside Ricardo Quaresma, the newly signed Portuguese international.

Abdulaziz Haikal (Al Ahli) He comes in to add more solidity in the defence when they meet tough rivals Al Jazira.

Abdulaziz Sanqour (Al Ahli) The midfielder turns up against UAE teammate Ali Mabkhout and the Brazilian duo Ricardo Oliveira and Fernandinho.

Ismail Al Hammadi (Al Ahli) Scored the winner in extra time for the UAE to clinch the Gulf Cup and the club would want him to carry that momentum forward.

Majed Hassan (Al Ahli) Haven't got many opportunities in the lineup but could get a call-up with Grafite absent.

Dawoud Sulaiman (Al Ain) Having been out of action for more than 40 days as the reserve goalkeeper, Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach is in two minds of playing him against Ajman.

Mohanad Salem Al Enazi (Al Ain) Having replaced Hamdan Al Kamali in the semi-final and final in the Gulf Cup, he is certain play a role in the back-row against Ajman.

Mohammed Ahmed (Al Ain) Olaroiu has said his chances of playing will depend on how quickly he can return to the role as right back after playing centre back for the national team.

Omar Abdulrahman (Al Ain) He will be on the spotlight after his heroics in the Gulf Cup. The midfielder is certain to play an influential role for his team.

Ali Khaseif (Al Jazira) The goalkeeper will face Ricardo Quaresma, the Portuguese international, and his UAE teammate Ahmed Khalil, the new attack of Al Ahli.

Khaled Issa (Al Jazira) He will be back to his old role watching the game from the bench as stand-by for Ali Kasheif.

Ali Al Amri (Al Jazira) He will add more solidity in the defence alongside the experienced Juma Abdulla and the Korean Shin Hyung-min.

Abdulla Mousa (Al Jazira) Will take his familiar role in the left flank to keep up a steady supply of crosses to the Brazilian pair Ricardo Oliveira and Fernandinho.

Khamis Ismail (Al Jazira) The young defender is troubled by a niggling leg injury and will have to undergo a fitness test ahead of their game against Al Ahli.

Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira) After scoring twice for the UAE in the Gulf Cup, he is certain to team-up with the Brazilian pair Ricardo Oliveira and Fernandinho in the attack against Al Ahli.

Habib Fardan (Al Nasr) A busy player in the midfield who gets involved in both attack and defence.

Walid Abbas (Al Shabab) He is back to marshall the defence against a rejuvenated attack of Al Wahda.

Ismail Matar (Al Wahda) The captain returns to club action after missing the last two games because of a recurring knee injury.

Hamdan Al Kamali (Al Wahda) Starts a new partnership with Dino Djulbic, the Australian centre back.

Saeed Al Kathiri (Al Wahda) He too begins a new partnership with Eric Mouloungui, the Gabon international, in spearheading the attack.

Amer Abdulrahman (Baniyas) What Omar Abdulrahman is for Al Ain is Amer Abdulrahman for Baniyas. He can create and pull the strings from the midfield.

Mohammed Fawzi (Baniyas) A workman-like midfielder who can link with the attack and defence.

Haboush Saleh (Baniyas) The diminutive midfielder is not a regular starter but can be called up when the team wants add muscle to the attack.

apassela@thenational.ae

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