Uncertainty is a new feeling for Omar Abdulrahman.
So long the prince of UAE football, he nonchalantly swept his way to success for club and country since a startling genius was revealed 10 years ago.
But this term, the playmaker’s crown has slipped. Permanently, some would fear.
This is why Al Ain’s impending double header against Qatar powerhouse Al Duhail in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s round of 16 signals a flag post in a career losing its lustre. Another offer of redemption on a grand stage cannot be spurned.
Amoory has been outcast by the UAE since misdemeanours before January’s wretched Gulf Cup final loss to Oman – a game in which he, critically, twice blinked from the penalty spot. He’s also been usurped from his throne at double-winners Al Ain by emerging Egypt spark Hussein El Shahat and the relentless brilliance of Sweden No9 Marcus Berg.
Even a rapidly expiring deal at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium has attracted no obvious suitors or fevered clamour to acquire a talent that previously beguiled the likes of Manchester City, Benfica and Nice. There is just an acceptance from employer and prodigal son that fresh terms will be inked.
The 26-year-old’s prime years are not running to an apparently pre-destined script.
Nagging injury and indifference from him detailed the Boss’ run to glory in the Arabian Gulf League. It featured just five goals and four assists from their resident superstar.
In preparations for the AFC Champions League 2018 Round of 16 First Leg match tomorrow, @alainfcae Final Training today at Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium https://t.co/wW4Cw6M3Al #alainclub pic.twitter.com/0yTG4Nlkgf— Al Ain FC - EN (@alainfcae_en) May 7, 2018
In half a season, El Shahat notched seven times and set-up nine more.
When competition in the ACL runs white hot, Abdulrahman has not always responded in kind. Disappearing acts in the 2014 semi-finals and 2017 quarter-finals against boyhood club Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia are not forgotten.
Neither are his no-shows in both legs of 2016’s disheartening final loss to South Korea’s game Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Yet he was sublime two years ago in the last-four versus El Jaish – the outfit merged with Lekhwiya to form Duhail last April.
Abdulrahman was also untouchable in Thursday’s President’s Cup final victory against Al Wasl, teeing up both goals.
All hope is not lost about a mercurial talent without peer in Asia.
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