Al Ain will “protest loudly” if punished for using UAE players in Arab Club Champions Cup, says Zoran Mamic

Matt Jones - Editor 01:26 02/08/2018
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Zoran Mamic insists Al Ain will “protest loudly” if they are sanctioned for using national team players in their opening Arab Club Champions Cup clash.

A strong Boss outfit lost 2-1 to Algeria’s ES Setif in the first-leg of the competition, switched to a knockout format this year, in Zagreb on Monday.

The Arab Football Federation has warned that both club and the UAE Football Association could face action as Zoran Mamic fielded a number of UAE national team players despite the fact the game came within the window of an international fixture, with the Whites due to meet up for a training camp in Austria later this month.

Goalkeeper Khalid Essa, defenders Ismail Ahmed, Mohamed Ahmed, Bandar Al Ahbabi, midfielders Amer Abdulrahman, Rayan Yaslam and Ahmed Barman all featured in the Croatian capital, which could land the club in hot water.

“The player stays with his club during the period of preparation for the football season because it is better to fight a challenge such as today’s instead of playing a match against a third-class team in Austria,” said Mamic of the threat of action.

“I do not think there is a team in the world who adopts such decisions that deprive the player of good preparation with his club before the start of the season without justification.

“I also heard that the UAE team in the past decided to put the players in a 40-day preparation camp which makes no sense.

“I am not responsible for the development of laws but I am working to protect my team and myself and the club to which I belong and I’m willing to do whatever contributes to the achievement of our goals.”

The Boss took the lead in the opening leg of the round of 32 clash, with veteran midfielder Ibrahim Diaky netting from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute.

But 13-times capped Algeria midfielder Abdelmoumene Djabou bagged a second half brace to earn Hacene Hemmar’s side a crucial win ahead of the second-leg, to be played again at Zagreb’s Stadion Maksimir, on Saturday.

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