Al Wahda boss Laurentiu Reghecampf is going for AGL gold after strong summer business

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Boss Laurentiu Reghecampf is convinced Al Wahda’s summer business has created “a stronger team” which can go one better than last term’s near miss in the Arabian Gulf League.

The Clarets pushed Abu Dhabi rivals Al Ain hard last term, eventually finishing seven-points adrift in second place. They’ve been circumspect in the subsequent transfer market, gaining real quality through prolific Al Ahli Jeddah winger Leonardo and a promising talent in Al Nasr left-back Hussain Abbas.

Allied with iconic forward Ismail Matar’s one-season renewal – the 35-year-old first joined in 2007 – and the return of UAE centre-back Hamdan Al Kamali from a serious knee injury, Reghecampf is expecting an improvement from a strong debut campaign which featured triumphs in the Arabian Gulf Cup and Arabian Gulf Super Cup.

“It is with pleasure that we managed to contract with Leonardo and Hussain Abbas,” said the ex-Romania midfielder. “We wish them success and a quick harmony with the rest of the team.

“The selection of players is a sound decision technically because the contracts make the squad complete and now we have a stronger team than the previous season.

“It was with great pleasure that we renewed the contract of Ismail Matar for an additional season, plus there is also the return of Hamdan Al Kamali from injury.

“We wish provide a season full of successes and continue to achieve trophies. The technical staff and the players will all work as one family, whether we win or lose.”

Great anticipation, in particular, surrounds Leonardo. The Brazilian struck 11 times in 23 run-outs in Saudi Arabia last season, with this following 27 strikes in 41 matches for Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade.

Wahda will defend their Super Cup-crown against Al Ain on Saturday at Cairo’s 30 June Stadium.

Meanwhile, Al Wasl received a boost on Monday when star forward Fabio De Lima began rehabilitation in Dubai after successful surgery.

De Lima, 24, damaged a knee during the early weeks of pre-season training and had been recuperating in his native Brazil.

The Cheetahs begin their 2018/19 AGL campaign against Dibba Al Fujairah on August 30.

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