Bani Yas coach Goran Tufegdzic targets promotion to Arabian Gulf League

Denzil Pinto 20:14 22/07/2017
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Goran Tufegdzic officially began his new job as Bani Yas head coach on Saturday and he has only one target in mind for his players for the upcoming season and that’s to win promotion to the Arabian Gulf League (AGL).

The Sky Blues will begin the 2017-18  term in the First Division League  after failing to extend their eight-year stay in the top-flight following a dismal season.

Just three wins from 26 were registered throughout the entire campaign as they finished bottom of the AGL with 15 points, five away from safety.

Former Ittihad Kalba and Kuwait supremo Tufegdzic replaces club legend Abdulwahab Abdulqadir, who was the third coach in charge at the Bani Yas Stadium last season, and the Serbian has signaled his intention of an immediate return to the AGL at the first time of asking.

“Our team has just one target which is to qualify for the Arabian Gulf League,” said the 45-year-old, who has inked a one-year contract.

“I am very happy to join this club but I have a very hard task ahead of me. I believe in this club and the players. This club really deserves to be in the top league and I am very optimistic of this club’s future. I am sure that we all will make this possible because the club has a good history of achievements.”

Although named as coach earlier this month, Tufegdzic has already done his homework on the squad and acknowledges the club will need to strengthen if they are to achieve their objective of claiming one of the two promotion spots.

“I have done some analysis on the players and it is important to get some players,” he said.

“Baniyas will also need some changes in the style of play because we must change how they play before.”

Australian midfielder Mark Milligan and Nigerian striker Ezekiel Henty have left the club this summer but Tufegdzic insists foreign duo Harry Novillo and French forward Jean Philippe Mendy remains in his team’s plans.

“They are very good players and have good ability to play in this team,” he said, adding that he had “no problem” with Al Shabab officials following the shock merger with Al Ahli and Dubai Cultural Sports Club  in May that saw his unveiling press conference cancelled at the last minute.

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