Al Ahli boss Cosmin Olaroiu has complained about the scheduling of the Arabian Gulf League as his side get ready to play their second match in four days against Ajman today.
The Romanian is a no-nonsense coach but when the subject of having just two days separating their matches is brought to his attention, Olaroiu managed to crack a sarcastic smile.
“Long time no see. You slept here?” were his first words at the pre-match press conference which was scheduled just 19 hours following the conclusion of Ahli’s 5-1 win over Al Wasl on Friday night.
Not only will the Red Knights be playing at the 17:20 early start for the first time this season, they also face an opponent who have had two more days of recovery time from their previous game.
“For us the game with Ajman is very important and we’re treating it very seriously,” said Olaroiu. “We know from our experience that the games against the smaller
teams bring you trophies especially in long competitions like the league. That’s why we will be giving all our concentration against Ajman.
“It won’t be easy. First of all, they had two more days of rest than us and that’s bad for us.
“They played against Al Ain two days before us and in this weather it’s not easy to recover.
“Of course it’s very hard. Especially in the beginning of the season when we know that it’s hot. Also in the beginning of the season, teams try to find a way to get in shape; I think the players need more time.”
Olaroiu admits it has been difficult to train his new signings like Habib Fardan, who only joined the team two days before the season kicked off, having been held up with the national team.
He faces a similar situation with defender Essa Santo, who joined Ahli from Al Wahda last Saturday.
“We have to follow the programme that is made,” Olaroiu said.
“It’s difficult because we can’t train the players. Luckily, Fardan is an intelligent player and he can adapt and he can do what we ask him verbally, because in training we didn’t train him.”
For Ajman, three of their first four games have pitted them against giants like Al Jazira, Al Ain and now Ahli, and the Orange Brigade travel to the Rashid Stadium today having picked up just one point from their opening three matches.
A fact that is forcing Olaroiu to worry even more.
“Of course we expect Ajman to play very hard,” he said. “They had bad luck to play Jazira, Al Ain and Ahli in the first four games. They are not so bad. They are playing better than the results are showing.”
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