Striker Kenwyne Jones is thrilled about his first foray into the AFC Champions League as Al Jazira travel to Iran to take on Tractor Sazi in their opening Group C game,
Jazira have been placed in a daunting section alongside the Persian Gulf Pro League runners-up, two-time winners Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor after emerging with a thrilling 5-4 penalty-shootout victory against Al Sadd in the play-offs.
Trinidad and Tobago forward Jones arrived in the UAE in January on loan from Welsh club Cardiff City and is relishing the Pride of Abu Dhabi’s trip to Tabriz, where he insists his side are going for all three points.
“It’s an exciting prospect,” said the 31-year-old when asked if he was looking forward to his first ACL experience.
“Going to Iran is a tough prospect but we’re going to prepare well and go there to win.
“I can’t say (I have any expectations) as it’s my first time but hopefully the team will be on the right end of the result.”
Jazira’s season seemed to be in ruins prior to the arrival new head coach Henk ten Cate, who has jump-started the Abu Dhabi giants’ 2015/16 campaign.
The Dutchman has seen his team win their last four games, while they have lost just once in seven matches since he took the reins.
Another player who has been a feature of the early Ten Cate era at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium is young Emirati midfielder Salem Rashid, who has played in all seven games for the former Ajax boss.
“To play in the Champions League is a dream and I will give my all,” he said.
“It is important to start well as it will give us motivation for the rest of the competition.”
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