Baniyas, off to losing start, hopeful of signing fourth foreign player ‘in next two or three days’

Having watched his new side lose their 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League opener, Baniyas manager Pablo Repetto confirmed he is looking to finalise his foreign contingent this week.
Baniyas, in white and light blue, lost their opening Arabian Gulf League match to Al Ain. Courtesy Arabian Gulf League
Baniyas, in white and light blue, lost their opening Arabian Gulf League match to Al Ain. Courtesy Arabian Gulf League

Having watched his new side lose their 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League opener, Baniyas manager Pablo Repetto confirmed he is looking to finalise his foreign contingent this week.

A slow start

Baniyas have not begun the season well, losing both their matches. Earlier this month, they were defeated 3-2 by Dibba in the Arabian Gulf Cup, before they kicked off their Arabian Gulf League campaign on Sunday night with a 1-0 reverse at Al Ain. However, Baniyas actually performed admirably against the 12-time UAE champions at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, before Caio’s 70th-minute goal settled the result.

More Arabian Gulf League:

• Al Ain: Zlatko Dalic ‘needs players’ to bolster squad

• Al Ahli: Gyan determined to make club ‘champions again’

• New imports: The best foreign players to watch out for

Finding his feet

Repetto, 42, is new to UAE football after joining Baniyas in July, where he replaced Abdullah Misfir. The Uruguayan rose to prominence this year when he guided Ecuadorian minnows Independiente del Valle to the Copa Libertadores final, eliminating South American heavyweights Boca Juniors and River Plate along the way. Independiente eventually lost the continental showpiece to Colombian side Atletico Nacional 2-1 on aggregate.

Foreign void

Baniyas are playing with only three foreign players, instead of the allotted four. Ishak Belfodil, the Algerian who signed in July 2015, requested his two-year contract be terminated this summer so he could return to Europe. The former Lyon, Parma and Inter Milan forward joined Belgium’s Standard Liege last month, leaving Baniyas one foreign player short. The Abu Dhabi club currently employ only Mark Milligan, Fellipe Bastos and Joaquin Larrivey.

Solving the problem

“Of course, we are still missing one foreign player, and playing with only three, which is difficult,” Repetto said. “We are doing our best to sign a new player, with the deal to be completed by the management. I cannot give you any more details at the moment, but the management are working hard on finishing a transfer. We hope to have something in the next two or three days.”

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Published: September 19, 2016 04:00 AM

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