Kalba bolster squad with dual signing - GulfToday

Kalba bolster squad with dual signing


Ahmad Lotfy poses with Ittihad Kalba’s officials during the unveiling ceremony.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Ittihad Kalba made their intent clear with the third signing of the season as they roped in Fahd Sabeel to bolster their squad further on Friday. Sabeel will join the Tigers next season from rival club Fujairah, who are at the bottom of the standings in the league with just 12 points from 19 games.

Sabeel has a long sprawling career in the Arabian Gulf League (AGL), with almost a decade of experience across all the domestic competitions.

Sabeel has played for almost all big clubs of the UAE since he made his league debut back in 2010 with Al Nasr. After completing one season with Al Nasr, he joined Bani Yas on loan the following year before coming back to his previous club again in the next season. He was signed by Al Shaab in 2015-16 before joining Fujairah in 2018 and has been with them since.

Kalba are banking on his domestic experience as they are fighting hard to stay afloat in the league. Kalba also completed the signing of home-grown talent Ahmed Lotfy of Egypt, who has been kept in the category of state-born children.

This was their third signing of the club in this transfer window apart from handing out one-year extension to their coach Jorge da Silva. Earlier, Kalba brought in the Italian defender Gabriel Santini to boost their defence.

Kalba seem to be planning to return to action in full throttle when the action resumes in the league. As the season was stopped due to the pandemic in mid-March with seven rounds still remaining, it is likely to restart in August again. However, no dates have been declared for the resumption.

Earlier, in order to provide more stability to the team, Kalba renewed the contract of their coach da Silva for another season.

He has been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the team for the next season. Currently Kalba are in the danger zone. They are on the 11th spot in the 14-team league with 16 points from 19 games. They have lost 13, drawn one and won five out of their 19 games so far when the season came to a halt due to the coronavirus.

Da Silva was roped in by Kalba last year in a bid to revive their faltering campaign. He had replaced Firas Jabbas, who was struggling to keep the team’s campaign on track and there were growing fears that they could be relegated to second tier.

When Da Silva took over the situation was very gloomy and the club was facing a streak of losses one after the other. The morale of the team was at its nadir. They were at the bottom of the standings both in the AGL and the Arabian Gulf Cup.

However, after Da Silva took over, there was some turnaround in the fortunes of the club: they rose to the 11th spot from the bottom.

The biggest challenge for the new Argentine coach was to end the skid and instil self-belief in the players. They desperately needed a morale-boosting win to revive their campaign across all the competitions.

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Sharjah look to extend lead, Kalba face Al Nasr

Sharjah will look to consolidate their position on the top of the table at the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) with victory over Al Jazira on Thursday. Sharjah are in stellar form

Sharjah coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari is hopeful of carrying on the winning momentum against Al Jazira.

He said: “Preparations are good and we hope to make a good match with our brothers in Al Jazira. We will not be affected by the absence of the players. It is an important game and we hope to come out with a positive result.”

Anbari is wary of Al Jazira, who have shown a remarkable resurgence after a slow start.

“We expected from the beginning that Al Jazeera will go strength to strength from one game to another and this is what happened and we know that the game is difficult for both teams.”

Anbari confirmed that they are fortunate to have both Sharjah players Brazilian Igor Kornado and Al Jazira’s Omar Abdul Rahman in the upcoming match.

“We will do our best to produce a positive result. We are fortunate to have Igor and Amuri in this game. I am happy for the return of Omar to our league, He is an important player for Al Jazira and we hope Igor continues with his strong form.”

Sharjah striker Abdullah Ghanem also described Al Jazira match as an important game for both the teams.

“It is going to be an important match for both teams and we are ready for the match. Ali Mabkhout and Omar are special players and I am ready to face them with my colleagues in the match.”

In the other match of the day, a resurgent Kalba will look to extend their winning streak against Al Nasr after beating Bani Yas in the last game while Al Ain take on Bani Yas.

Kalba coach Jorge Dasilva said he was satisfied with the preparations for the match.

“We are raring to go and preparations are under way for the match. We are in perfect shape as there are no injuries and no absentees in the match. We got more training time this time around unlike last week. I expect it to be a tough game for both the sides. Al Nasr are at their best in the recent period. They have good players like Alvaro Negredo,” he added.

“We will try to thwart Al Nasr’s players from passing the ball to their attackers. I watched several games of Al Nasr and analysed their way of playing well. I have been talking to the guys about Al Nasr’s strategy of playing throughout the week.”

He also urged his players to put up a strong show against Al Nasr.

“I want my team to show and perform what is required of them. We have to learn a lesson from the second-half of the last game against Bani Yas.

“We must avoid the mistakes made by the players in the last game that would negatively affect the outcome. With the concentration, strong performance and fighting spirit on the pitch we will reap a positive result,” he concluded.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

06 Nov 2019