Al Ain’s Mohammed Fayez says: ‘Everyone here is striving for continental glory’

Al Ain are currently training in Austria ahead of a hugely important season both domestically and on the continent. Left-back Mohammed Fayez spoke Tuesday to the club’s official website.
Al Ain's Mohammed Fayez dribbles the ball around Al Ahli's Ismail Salem. Christopher Pike / The National
Al Ain's Mohammed Fayez dribbles the ball around Al Ahli's Ismail Salem. Christopher Pike / The National

Al Ain are currently training in Austria ahead of a hugely important season both domestically and on the continent. Left-back Mohammed Fayez spoke Tuesday to the club’s official website.

A crucial campaign

The 2016/17 season holds much promise, with Al Ain beginning the campaign with their Asian Champions League quarter-final double-header against Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv. The first leg takes place in Al Ain on August 23. Zlatko Dalic’s side then kick off the Arabian Gulf League on September 18 as they seek to improve on last season’s runner-up finish to Al Ahli.

On lifting the Asian crown for a second time

“Certainly, there’s a sense of responsibility and genuine desire within all the team to win the Asian Champions League,” Fayez said. “Everyone here is striving for continental glory and bringing the title back to the UAE, especially since the current Al Ain team has in the past three years managed to reach the latter stages. This can help us this year.”

On the absence of first-team regulars

Al Ain are missing seven players in Austria, with Omar Abdulrahman and others training with the UAE national team in Spain ahead of September’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers. “Missing these seven key players is affecting the training camp and also affecting the coach’s ability to perform his duties,” Fayez said. “I hope we can get these players back by the beginning of August.”

• 2016/17 AGL transfers: Diaky set for Al Jazira return, Al Ain add another Abdulrahman to ranks

On Al Ain’s new recruits

The club have signed Amer Abdulrahman, the UAE international midfielder from Baniyas, and Caio, the Brazilian winger from Japan’s Kashima Antlers. “They will be strong additions to the team and will make a difference to our style,” Fayez said. “Amer is a national team player who can add to the team, while Caio is very fast and will bring more to the side. I wish them both all the best.”

On a highly competitive 2016/17 AGL

“For sure, the league will be very strong and different from previous seasons, because the new champion will represent the country in the 2017 Fifa Club World Cup,” Fayez said. “All the teams began preparations early and have brought excellent additions to strengthen their squads. Al Ain will continue to be a strong contender as usual, as well as Al Ahli and Al Nasr, but I won’t be surprised if we see another opponent in the race with us.”

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Published: July 26, 2016 04:00 AM

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