Ittihad Kalba players attend a training session ahead of their match against Fujairah.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Bottom club Ittihad Kalba will look to bounce back to give their new coach a winning debut when they take on Fujairah in the fourth round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Friday.
In the other match of the day, Al Dhafra will face Ajman at the Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Stadium.
Kalba are at the bottom of the standings in the league. They are also at the bottom of their group in the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC) following a dismal start to the season.
In a bid to revive their faltering campaign, Kalba have roped in Jorge da Silva as the head coach recently. He replaces Firas Jabbas, who was struggling to put the team back on track after consecutive defeats across both the competitions.
Da Silva is set to make his competitive debut against Fujairah as their coach. Kalba have just one point from three games in the AGC.
Kalba will look to end their skid in the 14-team league. They are yet to open their account after three games. They were beaten by Al Ain, which was followed by another loss against defending champions Sharjah.
To compound their problems, newly-promoted Hatta also defeated them 1-0.
Kalba are pinning hopes on the new coach for the turnaround in their fortunes. The new coach Jorge Da Silva exuded confidence in the team and vowed to put up a good fight against Fujairah.
“We have worked well over the past three days. We are ready to face Fujairah. Players are confident and raring to go,” says the new coach.
“I am happy that players are accepting my thoughts. The only problem I am facing is the late return of foreign players from the national duty.
“I wish they were here well in advance to get acclimatised to the conditions ahead of the important clash against Fujairah. They would also be able to fine tune with the team and other players,” he says.
“The team is capable of winning any match. We have to change the difficult situation it is going through recently after consecutive losses in both the domestic tournaments,” he adds.
“I will decide to involve foreign players after sitting with them and make sure they are physically fit,” informs the new coach.
“I love difficult challenges. Players need to bring moral and radical changes in their mental behaviour to overcome the psychological barrier and to start winning the games again.” Kalba are yet to notch up a win in either of the domestic tournaments. With the continuous losses the morale of the team is low and they are struggling to put their campaign back on track.
“First of all we have to respect the opponents. This is of course not the ideal conditions for the preparation of the game because of the delay in the arrival of foreign international players to join the team.
“Fujairah is a good team and has a number of distinguished players as well as their status in the table ranking.
“What I am currently concerned with my team is how I will lead the players on the pitch. The team has not won any official meeting for a long time. We must start to score points and climb in the ranking table.
“It will be a beautiful derby game. We expect the team to look good and satisfy everyone. It makes sense for the team to see some changes. We have a number of training and tactical changes for the game,” he added.
He also informs that fitness will be the first priority in choosing the playing eleven.
“The players who are fit and ready will be in the starting line-up. Our goal is to achieve a positive results and run away with full three points.
“We don’t want to settle for a draw. We will aspire for the first win of the season that will boost the morale of the team. We will go all we have for a positive result,” he concludes.
On day two of the Matchweek 4, a total of five matches will be played. Al Ain will face promoted Hatta at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Wahda will take on Al Nasr at the Al Nahyan Stadium while Shabab A Ahli will meet Bani Yas at Rashid Stadium.
Khorfakkan will lock horns with Al Jazira at Kalba Union Sports & Cultural Club and Al Wasl will face Sharjah at Zabeel Stadium.
Sharjah coach Ahmed Al Anbari says: “The Arabian Gulf Cup match has different calculations and we hope that the players are at the top of the readiness.
Sharjah’s defender Salim remarks: “I know it will be a difficult game. Al Wasl is a strong team with its name, players and fans. We seek to achieve a positive outcome that delight the fans of the Kings.”
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