Al Jazira boss Marcel Keizer has admitted he’s battling an international talent drain when they travel to Sharjah in the Arabian Gulf Cup.
The two sides have started 2018/19 in excellent form and played out an entertaining 1-1 in the Arabian Gulf League on October 5. This was before the latest break and the Pride of Abu Dhabi provided five members of Alberto Zaccheroni’s UAE squad, plus forward Ahmed Rabea has since replaced injured club-mate Ali Mabkhout.
In contrast, Sharjah will only be without left-back Al Hasan Saleh and Uzbekistan midfielder Otabek Shukurov for Monday’s Group B-clash at Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium.
“The encounter will be very different from the match we had in the league, because the absence of international players from both teams will certainly affect the coaches’ plans,” said ex-Ajax tactician Keizer.
“We have youngsters that can play at the highest level, but they need more experience and to participate in competitive games.
“We also have healthy players. They have great experience and they are always ready to help the team at any time, so I do not think I will have a problem choosing the players for the list we will play against Sharjah.”
Elsewhere in the section, AGL and President’s Cup champions Al Ain will take a large step towards the quarter-finals with victory against Al Dhafra.
Emirates Club and Fujairah, however, only have a point apiece. Defeat for either could prove terminal to hopes of progression.
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