Marcel Keizer speaks to the media during a press conference. File
By Mohammad Abdullah
A delighted Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer made his intents clear for being a serious contenders for the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) after dismantling leaders Sharjah from the top.
Al Jazira, who were keeping hot on the heels of Sharjah for long, defeated the reigning champions 3-0 to take a 3-point lead and go on the top of the standings on Friday.
Kiezer said they are ready for any challenge now after their win over Sharjah. They will face Shabab Al Ahli in the next game.
“I know we have a tough game in the next round against Shabab Al Ahli.
They are a strong team and have good players in their line-ups but we are now ready to face any challenge,” said Kiezer on the club’s social media platform.
He also predicted a tough game against Shabab Al Ahli, who defeated Khorfakkan 4-3, in a seven-goal fest. Shababa Al Ahli are currently sitting at the fifth spot with 32 points.
“We know it is going to be very tough game but we are prepared well for the match and we are confident of winning it,” added Kiezer.
He also lauded his team after a morale-boosting win against the erstwhile leaders.
“I'm happy with the performance of my team, against a good team like Sharjah, playing like this, controlling the game with a lot of possession and being compact when we had to defend,” said Keizer.
“Tactically they did very well, all the substitutions who came in did well, so at this moment I'm very happy with the team performance and we have three more points,” he said praising the players.
Ali Mabkhout scored a brace after Mohammed Rabii netted the opener to hand the Pride of Abu Dhabi 1-0 in the 14th minute. Mabkhout also ended his goal drought in style by steering Al Jazira to victory in the top of the table clash.
Al Jazira defeated Hatta 2-0 while Shabab Al Ahli trounced Al Wahda 4-0 in matchweek 8 of the Arabian Gulf League on Wednesday. Earlier, Bani Yas holds Sharjah
Both Shabab Al Ahli and Sharjah did try to break the deadlock but the former were more aggressive as they created more chances in the first-half.
At least 11 Al Jazira academy players have signed their first professional contracts since June 2020 to take the initial step in their career and set themselves up for the senior team.
"Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble," club vice president Mustafa Ozak told Radyo Gol.
Taking place under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, the event will be contested by 17 teams with some of the top names in the badminton world including Olympic medallists to lead their respective teams.
Aurelien Giraud, the French skateboarder, won the men’s Street 2022 World Championships at Aljada Skate Park in Sharjah, while Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal claimed gold in the women’s event.