Arabian Gulf League: Kone to give second helping hand to Ajman in relegation scrap

Transfer round-up: The Ivory Coast playmaker joins Iraqi defender Ahmed Ibrahim after friend Boris Kabi's good recommendation on his new employers. Also other clubs bolster their ranks.

Bakari Kone, right, played for Lekhwiya in Dubai in March 2012, against Al Nasr in the AFC Champions League. Satish Kumar / The National
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DUBAI // Encouraged by the presence of his friend Boris Kabi in the team, the Ivory Coast international Bakari Kone has signed on at Ajman until the end of the season, and said he is ready for battle in the team’s quest for survival in the Arabian Gulf League.

Kone, 32, was the second newcomer to the Ajman squad over the weekend with the bottom-placed side making a late entry into the transfer market in a bid to strengthen the squad.

Iraq defender Ahmed Ibrahim had already joined the ranks on Friday to replace Kuwaiti striker Yousuf Nasser, while Kone comes in from Qatari club Umm Salal to take the place of the injured Moroccan playmaker Driss Fettouhi.

“I have been following the Ajman team due to the presence of my friend Boris Kabi in the side,” Kone said after his move.

“I spoke to him as well and he had a lot of good things to say about the club and the way they treat their players.”

Kone, 32, the 2004/05 Player of the Year in France’s Ligue 2 while at Lorient, has also turned out for French sides Nice and Marseille during his career and has played in Qatar for the past three years for Lekhwiya and Qatar SC, before joining Umm Salal in 2013.

“I want to help the team stay in the professional league,” Kone said. “I know that the task is extremely difficult, but the team has the elements and the ability to move away from this ordeal.”

Fellow new arrival Ibrahim, who spent six months on loan at Al Wasl last season, is determined to help his new employers beat the drop.

“We know how many points we need to ensure our survival and we have the team that can do it,” the 21-year-old defender said.

In other transfers over the weekend, Al Nasr defender Ismail Al Jasmi, who has been playing on loan at Ajman for the past 18 months, has moved to Al Jazira on a three-and-a-half-year deal along with Hassan Ameen, in an exchange deal that saw Ali Al Ameri move to the Dubai club.

Nasr, meanwhile, have brought defender Talal Hamad back into the fold as he nears the end of his two-year ban for a failed dope test.

Hamad’s suspension comes to an end in March and Nasr have allowed him to start training with the club’s reserve team.

Defender Thamer Mohammed, 29, has left Baniyas for Al Ahli on a three-and-a-half-year deal. He is serving a three-month ban, which ends on March 22, after failing a dope test in November.

Al Wahda have re-registered Hussain Fadel after medical reports confirmed the injured 29-year-old Kuwaiti defender can resume training next week.

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