Scandal-ridden striker Wanderley has vowed to consign his double punishment to the past and repay Al Nasr’s unwavering support with goals.
Wanderley, 28, produced an assist for substitute Ahmed Khameis and struck a late penalty in Friday’s 4-0 thrashing of Al Shabab in the Arabian Gulf League. This marked a successful comeback from a second suspension of a fitful debut season since a summer switch from Sharjah went sour because of an interminable eligibility row.
“Thank you God for everything,” said the Brazilian, who had been given a contested 10-match ban by the UAE Football Association in January to follow the 60-day sidelining issued in September by the AFC. “I suffered a lot, but thanks God, thanks players, Al Nasr and the fans.
“They all helped me a lot, every day by messages and talking. It was very important for keeping my concentration and to work hard, so I could come back strong.
“I am very happy now. About the punishment, I want to forget it.
“I just want to play football again, it is my life. I have to say again thanks to God and mabrook [congratulations in Arabic] to all the players.”
At the start of 2016/17, Wanderley was registered as the designated Asian in the four-man foreign quota. But the Brazil-born star’s Indonesian passport was ruled a forgery by the continental governing body.
He then returned under his native country’s documents in December, which fell foul of rules dictating nationality cannot change within one season.
These indiscretions have meant Wanderley has scored twice in just three top-flight games for the Blue Wave. At Sharjah last term, he struck 15 times in 26 run-outs.
Despite these setbacks, a dedicated work ethic remained.
“Every time I had discipline, I worked hard and a lot alone,” Wanderley said. “Also in my home, I would go with my wife to the gym.
“I work, work, work. That is why thanks to God I came back strong.
“I also have to thank the coach [Dan Petrescu] for always supporting me and giving me confidence.”
Nasr are a distant sixth in the AGL, but next month’s President’s Cup semi-final against promoted Hatta looms large for Wanderley.
He said: “I hope to continue in the same way and we continue in the same way, making a good job.
“We have the President’s Cup, but it is not easy. We play against Hatta, who are a very good club.
“We play hard and we do our best in the field to get something good for us and our fans.”