About-face for Ibrahim Diaky, who will stay with Al Ain after all

John McAuley reports rather than making an expected move from Al Ain to Al Jazira, Ibrahim Diaky is now staying with the Garden City club on a new one-year contract.

Ibrahim Diaky. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo / Al Watan Doha
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Ibrahim Diaky has signed a new one-year contract with Al Ain despite appearing poised for a return to former club Al Jazira.

The Ivory Coast-born midfielder, 34, was released by the Garden City side earlier this month and had spent the past week training with Jazira at their pre-season camp in the Netherlands.

However, Al Ain offered Diaky the option of another season, to which he agreed, and he departed the Netherlands late Wednesday to join up with the 12-time UAE champions at their base in Austria on Thursday.

“The club management reached an agreement with Diaky to extend his contract, which expired at the end of last season, and the player showed a desire to continue his career with Al Ain,” said Matar Al Sahbani, the Al Ain team manager, in a statement. “Coach Zlatko always praises Diaky’s character and his professionalism and he will add his value and experience to the team.”

Al Ain view Diaky’s know-how as crucial to what is an extremely important season ahead, with the club soon to contest the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League against Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent. The first leg takes place on August 23 at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium before Al Ain travel to Tashkent for the return match on September 13.

They then begin their 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League campaign on September 18 at home to Baniyas. Last season, Al Ain finished runner-up to Al Ahli. Diaky, who joined the club from Jazira in 2013, featured 35 times in all during the 2015/16 campaign, scoring seven times.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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