Four-goal Sharjah striker Welliton heaps praise on summer arrivals

Matt Jones - Editor 17:00 16/09/2018
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The King is here: Welliton celebrates one of his four goals against Al Nasr.

Sharjah striker Welliton has heaped praise on twin summer arrivals Ryan Mendes and Igor Coronado, crediting them with the strengthening the ranks of a side who have been perennial underachievers in recent years.

The King are one of the most successful clubs in UAE football history – having won the Arabian Gulf League five times (fourth most) while they jointly hold the record for President’s Cup triumphs (eight) with Al Ahli (now Shabab Al Ahli Dubai).

But the King’s crown has fallen in the last two decades – they have not won the President’s Cup in 16 years, while league title glory has not been tasted in 23 years.

But Abdulaziz Al Anbari’s men have begun the 2018/19 AGL season on fire – rocketing in 10 goals in their opening two games. They put four past Al Dhafra on the opening day and followed that up with a 6-3 demolition job on much-fancied Al Nasr on Saturday.

Brazilian striker Welliton helped himself to four of those goals – netting a 27-minute first-half hat-trick – but shifted the focus onto collective rather than individual success.

“I enter every game and my goal is to contribute to the team’s win,” said the nomadic 31-year-old striker, who with five goals in two games is just two strikes behind his 2017/18 total of seven from 19 outings.

“I always look to win and for the team’s interest, not personal titles. It’s nice to score goals but most importantly is to come up with a good level and positive results.”

Sharjah finished sixth last term – their highest place since returning to the top-flight in 2013 – and their bright start to the campaign has raised hope of even better this year.

And Welliton believes Cape Verde international Mendes and Milton Keynes Dons academy graduate Coronado have greatly improved Sharjah.

“The presence of Ryan and Igor helped to strengthen the offensive side in addition to the national elements in the team,” added the former Spartak Moscow man.

“I thank the players for their efforts and cooperation with me, and my record of four goals is the collective efforts of my fellow players and the coaching staff during this early period.

“The victory (against Al Nasr) is just three points in the league and we still have everything to do. The next games are difficult and we need to support everyone.

“I will not forget the fans who came to the game, despite the high temperature and high humidity, and I thank them for all the support they give to the players and the club.”

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