Al Wahda supremo Javier Aguirre insists belief is coursing through the club that they can fight for the Arabian Gulf League title, ahead of Friday’s opening fixture.
The Clarets haven’t lifted the trophy in seven years, but after recovering from a dreadful start to claim third last season, the Mexican and his players are daring to dream.
“Yes, indeed. Finishing third last year was fantastic, but everyone at the club, my team and myself, believe we can now fight for the title along with teams like Al Ahli and Al Ain,” said the 57-year-old ahead of Wahda’s clash at newly-promoted Hatta.
Wahda won a maiden Arabian Gulf Cup last season, beating Al Shabab 1-0 in the final, and also qualified for the play-offs of the 2017 AFC Champions League.
Their headline addition has been Hungary winger Balazs Dzsudzsak, who was purchased from Turkey’s Bursaspor. Midfielders Tariq Ahmed and Nasser Abdulhadi were also recruited from Dibba Al Fujairah.
Their quest to reach the AGL summit begins tomorrow with a trip to Hatta. Aguirre is wary of the threat posed by the First Division League champions, but is only interested in one result.
He said: “We respect a lot Hatta, they deserve to be here, but our idea is to go for the three points.
“In the first five to seven games last season we lost many points and at the end of the season it cost us. (However), all my team is healthy, I have no excuses.”
In tomorrow’s other games, Shabab host Sharjah and new boys Ittihad Kalba go to Dibba.
Meanwhile, Al Jazira appear set to add Saudi Arabia midfielder Salman Al Faraj to their squad after Al Hilal chairman Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Fahd revealed a transfer was close.
Al Faraj, 27, has been strongly linked with a Dh35 million switch throughout this week. A deal now is reportedly in place which will see the 25-times-capped international take the place of South Korea’s Park Jong-woo as the Asian-qualified player in the four-man foreign quota.
News about the move became concrete when Sheikh Abdul Aziz tweeted: “Salman Al Faraj is headed to Al Jazira.”
Previously this summer, the Pride of Abu Dhabi have bought Morocco playmaker Mbark Boussoufa, UAE right-back Mohammed Fawzi and midfielders Salem Abdulla from Al Wasl and Humaid Ahmed from Fujairah.
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