Sharjah players attend a training session on Monday, ahead of their Arabian Gulf League match against Bani Yas.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Sharjah will look to bounce back from the disappointment of Arabian Gulf Cup quarter-final loss against Al Ain as the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) resumes after a month-long break.
Arabian Gulf League leaders Sharjah will take on Bani Yas on day one of the Match-week 8 at the Sharjah Stadium, which will kick off at 8:30pm.
While in the first match of the day, Ittihad Kalba will meet Ajman at the Kalba Union Sports and Cultural Club. Al Dhafra will face off with Khorfakkan at the Khalid Bin Mohamed Stadium at 6pm.
Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari said he is wary of Bani Yas challenge and vowed no let-ups.
“Baniyas is a tough team, which has been providing a tough competition since last season. We played against them in the Gulf Cup and it was a strong competiton,” said Anbari.
Talking about a long break in the league, he said: “We return after a long break for the league matches. Our preparations for the match is very short as we did not get enough time after the Al Ain game.
“We should get used to the pressure of matches because this is what we will face in the next stage. We have a good group of players and we will give the opportunity to the most prepared ones,” he asserted.
“We will miss the services of Saif Rashid’s and will make sure that the others are ready in for the match,” he added.
Talking about the disappointment of losing in the quarter-finals of the Arabian Gulf Cup, he said: “We reached a good stage in the Arab Gulf Cup compared to last season.” Sharjah player Tariq Al Khadim is looking to achieve a positive result.
“We prepared well for the match like we do for the other matches. Our focus was high during the training despite the short time for Al Ain match. Baniyas are a tough team and we will work to obtain a positive result in the match,” said Khadim.
Commenting on a month-long break in the league he said: “When there is a break it affects everyone. The momentum is broken and focus is diverted. We despite being the leaders are equally affected by the breaks,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bani Yas coach Winfried Schafer is looking to resume their campaign with a win.
“We are going to play for a win not a draw against Sharjah. We are up against the leaders and I watched their match with Al Ain in the Arabian Gulf Cup quarter-final. They played a great match despite the loss, and they have the qualities of a being a good team,” said Schafer.
“Without a doubt, even a draw is positive against the leader, but our goal is to win and come back strongly.
Bani Yas player Muhammed Kamas expressed his high confidence in his colleagues.
“We trained well during the break and we are highly motivated and confident to take on Sharjah. Absence of the few players will not be an excuse for not winning and the goal is to win,” he added.
Ittihad Kalba coach Jorge da Silva said they are prepared well and eyeing full points against Ajman.
“It was a very good week in regards to training and preparing for the Ajman match. All players are available and fully fit. The player are raring to against Ajman and comeback with all three point,” he said.
“I have confidence in the available players. This pressure will serve as an incentive for us not to relax and let loose in any match and focus on producing the best possible results. We strive to advance in the ranking table by the end of December,” informed Kalba coach.
“It is a very important match for us and considered Ajman one of the toughest teams for us. We are focussed on how to capture the full three points against Ajman match, and then Al Dhafra.
“The break was used perfectly to prepare the team for the league. We worked on correcting mistakes, some shortcomings, and improving team performance,” he added.
Da Silva is looking at the match as an opportunity for both Ajman and Kalba to rise up in the standings.
“It is an opportunity for the two teams to show their potential and prove their existence in the league. We know that the match is not that easy and will be difficult for both the teams.
“Ajman is one of the toughest opponents and they have distinguished and important players. We know that Ajman were not in a good position during the last games, but they have a desire to return to the winning ways.
“Our team is ready for the match. We already have alternatives ready to ready Malaba. Ahmed Amer and also Ibrahim Sarhan have the ability to compensate and replace any player with their high potentials and techniques,” he informed.
Kalba player Amer said they are confident of winning against Ajman.
“All players are fully prepared and ready for the Ajman match. It is a difficult match for the two teams. We respect Ajman team and our goal is to achieve a positive result.
“I trust in my ability to be a suitable and successful replacement for the Malaba, who will be absent from the match for suspension.
“I will prove to everyone that I can make a difference. I prepare myself ideally for an exciting experience,” he concluded.
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