Coach Zoran Mamic declared his “heart is with Al Ain” when he stirringly moved to dismiss reports of a switch back to Saudi Arabia ahead of Tuesday’s 2018 AFC Champions League-clash with Michael Laudrup’s Al Rayyan.
Mamic, 46, is experiencing a bumper first full season since being controversially poached from Riyadh giants Al Nassr in February 2017.
The ex-Croatia international’s influence leading the Boss to the top of the 2017/18 Arabian Gulf League’s standings has attracted covetous eyes from across the border, a dangerous situation with less than six months remaining on his contract.
But he delivered a morale boost on Monday, seemingly committing his long-term future to the club.
“My heart is with Al Ain and I plan to be part of this great club in the next stage,” said Mamic, whose side gained a creditable goalless draw at 2017 runners-up Al Hilal when Group D got under way last week.
“All my focus is on achieving my goals with Al Ain and I have a continuing contract with this club.”
2016 AFC Player Omar Abdulrahman missed the trip to Hilal as he lacked match sharpness, but played in Friday’s 5-1 humiliation at Al Wahda in the Arabian Gulf Cup’s quarter-finals.
Rayyan sit a distant third in the QNB Stars League.
An opening 2-2 draw with Iran’s Esteghlal saw experienced Qatar schemer Rodrigo Tabata score and be sent off.
“The fact is Rayyan has a large squad,” said Mamic.
“The absence of one player won’t affect the team.”
Rayyan lost 5-1 at Wahda in last year’s group stages.
Know more about Sport360 Application