Emmanuel Emenike has arrived at Al Ain to replace Asamoah Gyan. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Emmanuel Emenike has arrived at Al Ain to replace Asamoah Gyan. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike ‘does not worry’ about replacing Asamoah Gyan at Al Ain

Emmanuel Emenike says he is not concerned about having to replace Asamoah Gyan at Al Ain.

The Nigeria international, 28, was introduced to the media at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday night having completed a one-year loan deal from Fenerbahce, the Turkish Super Lig side. The Arabian Gulf League champions have the option to make permanent the contract.

Emenike has been charged with leading Al Ain's attack for the 2015/16 season after Gyan transferred this week to the Chinese Super League, signing a hugely lucrative deal with Shanghai SIPG. Al Ain are believed to have banked €20 million (Dh81.3m) from the sale.

Succeeding Gyan represents a daunting proposition, given the Ghanaian’s record in UAE football. In four seasons at Al Ain, Gyan scored 128 goals to help Al Ain clinch three league championships, while he secured the competition’s Golden Boot in his first three years here. He also notched the winner in the 2014 President’s Cup final.


However, Emenike remains unperturbed, with the former Spartak Moscow striker referencing his performance at the 2013 African Cup of Nations in which he finished joint top scorer to fire Nigeria to a third continental crown. Last season was not his finest, though, since he scored only four goals in 27 league appearances as Fenerbahce finished second in the Turkish top flight.

“Gyan is a very good player and I’m here to replace him, so I hope I do well,” Emenike said. “Replacing him does not worry me. He has achieved a lot in his career, but I have also achieved a lot. I’ve won the African Cup of Nations.

“I’ve scored goals and I’ve won trophies in Turkey. Last season was not the best season for me, but I made a big impact in other ways, making assists, as well as scoring a few goals.

“I’m here to win more trophies. Al Ain has a reputation as a winning club so I’m here to achieve good things and win more trophies in my career.”

Emenike, who has been awarded the No 9 shirt at Al Ain, becomes the Garden City club’s third foreign signing of the summer, following the acquisitions of Ryan Babel and Fellipe Bastos. Lee Myung-joo completes their expatriate roster.

Emenike said he is most looking forward to playing alongside Omar Abdulrahman, the UAE national team playmaker who developed an excellent understanding with Gyan.

“It will be great to play with a player like him because he is a great player and a great midfielder,” Emenike said. “I’ve watched some games and in most of them he gave a lot of good passes to Gyan. He has great vision and I think I will work really well with him. We will work hard in training to see how we’re going to play together.”

Meanwhile, Al Ain are assessing a number of offers for Jires Kembo Ekoko. The French-born forward was an integral member of last season’s title-winning side, scoring 11 goals, but is now deemed surplus to requirements.

Mohammed bin Bdoua, an Al Ain board member, said: “The player is still under contract and has one season remaining, but we have received offers from some clubs expressing an interest in signing him. We are currently studying these offers in consultation with the player and his future will be determined in the coming period.”


Company profile

Company name:+Dharma

Date started:+2018

Founders:+Charaf El Mansouri, Nisma Benani, Leah Howe

Based:+Abu Dhabi


Funding stage:+Pre-series A 

Investors:+Convivialite Ventures, BY Partners, Shorooq Partners, L& Ventures, Flat6Labs

Top tips

Create and maintain a strong bond between yourself and your child, through sensitivity, responsiveness, touch, talk and play. “The bond you have with your kids is the blueprint for the relationships they will have later on in life,” says Dr Sarah Rasmi, a psychologist.
Set a good example. Practise what you preach, so if you want to raise kind children, they need to see you being kind and hear you explaining to them what kindness is. So, “narrate your behaviour”.
Praise the positive rather than focusing on the negative. Catch them when they’re being good and acknowledge it.
Show empathy towards your child’s needs as well as your own. Take care of yourself so that you can be calm, loving and respectful, rather than angry and frustrated.
Be open to communication, goal-setting and problem-solving, says Dr Thoraiya Kanafani. “It is important to recognise that there is a fine line between positive parenting and becoming parents who overanalyse their children and provide more emotional context than what is in the child’s emotional development to understand.”


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8

Power: 712hp at 6,100rpm

Torque: 881Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 19.6 l/100km

Price: Dh380,000

On sale: now

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy