An interesting few months await for Al Wasl striker Caio Canedo.
After two-successive top-three finishes, 2018/19 has been a disaster for the Cheetahs. This descent towards the bottom has been a painful one for their skipper, whose posts on Instagram strongly hint at the imminent ending of a prolific four-year stint at Zabeel Stadium.
Sport360° caught up with the Brazilian to discuss his past, present and future:
Talk about your beginnings…
I started as a kid, of course. Always playing in the streets of Brazil. When I was 10, I had to move to the United State with my family, and there started to play again.
I broke all the records possible in the school and received many offers from all the top-seven universities in the country. But by the age of 16, I knew I was special and talented, so I decided to move back to Brazil so I could play professional. It worked well. I made it.
Why did Al Wasl fail this season? Three coaches have been hired, yet we see a terrible decline
Maybe the planning. A lot of competitions and not enough players in the squad to backup injuries and suspensions with the same quality.
You are the captain of the club and have scored 65 goals with Al Wasl in the UAE league, what does this mean to you?
I have almost 100 goals for Al Wasl in all competitions, That’s an incredible mark for me and I’m very happy.
It feels good to be such an important player in the history of the club. Being a captain is great. I’m a true leader. I try to be an example to the others.
What do you think of the UAE league’s level this season, and what team will decide the league?
The level is great and continues improving each year. Maybe Sharjah has a bigger chance, they are doing great.
In your opinion, why don’t many Gulf players move to Europe?
Maybe because most of them don’t need football as a living. The majority has a comfortable life here. In the UAE they have everything, so for them there’s no ambition to play outside.
What are your ambitions with Al Wasl? Everyone is expecting your departure because of what you posted on Instagram
I want to sit down and talk to the administration about my situation by the end of the season.
Who is the best foreign and local player this season in the league?
Best foreign player can be Welliton from Sharjah. He has a lot of goals. Local player, I would say Khalfan Mubarak from Al Jazira.
Round 20 of the 2018/19 Arabian Gulf League delivered several stellar displays, at both ends of the table.
Mid-table Ajman humiliated champions Al Ain, inflicting their heaviest home defeat – Sunday’s 4-0 loss – of the professional era. At the bottom, Emirates Club and Dibba Al Fujairah gained vital wins as they battle against relegation.
Here are Sport360’°s top picks and a talking point:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Igor Coronado (Sharjah)
The €6 million sent Palermo’s way last summer for the Brazilian playmaker seems cheaper by the round.
Coronado came to Sharjah’s rescue at Bani Yas, dispatching a one-on-one and penalty as the unbeaten leaders came from behind to defeat promoted opponents.
A first top-flight title since 1995/96 is moving into view.
GOAL OF THE WEEK
Mohamed Al Akbari (Al Nasr)
A stupendous goal laced with significance was rattled in by Al Akbari this weekend.
Back at Al Nahyan Stadium for the second time since a surprise defection from Al Wahda, the forward unleashed an unstoppable curled shot that sparked a revitalising 2-1 win for Al Nasr.
We keep seeing glimpses of a special talent.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Ayman El Ramady (Ajman)
This was a result that dreams are made of.
The Orange Brigade trampled all over the UAE’s most-decorated club, a 4-0 triumph being the heaviest Al Ain have suffered at home in the professional era.
El Ramady deserves more credit. Beyond this historic result, he’s long ended talk of Ajman being a yo-yo club.
Can the Falcons fly free again?
Life is never dull for the Emirates Club faithful.
The Falcons, as always, have been locked in a battle against relegation all season. But Friday’s epic 3-2 victory at Al Dhafra, ending a nine-game winless run, has propelled them out of the bottom two and sparked talk of another great escape.
Emirates’ indefatigable reputation has been established by finishing one point above the drop zone in 2015/16 and 2016/17, then requiring a relegation play-off to survive a season later. Will they do it again?
Al Ain’s Arabian Gulf League reign looks to have finally come to an end following a 4-0 home defeat by Ajman.
As the rain poured down at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, so did the goals for the Orange Brigade, who were the only colourful thing on a dark day for the Boss.
Here we take a look at the performance of Al Ain’s one bright spark, Bandar Al Ahbabi.
A spirited fightback from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Al Duhail during the AFC Champions League in midweek was supposed to galvanise a squad still broken by their 5-1 beating by Al Jazira in Al Clasico. But, instead, a succession of errors and misfortune befell the Boss.
They went behind after half an hour, Stanley Ohawuchi profiting from a horrendous mix-up between Mohammed Fayez and Ismail Ahmed, rounding Khalid Essa to net. Abdullah Malalla made it 2-0 just before the break when his fierce strike took a wicked deflection off Mohanad Salem and left Essa helpless. The hapless stopper then unwittingly contributed to the Orange Brigade’s third six minutes into the second half when Adil Hermach met Vander Vieira’s corner with a thunderous header that came back off the bar, hit Essa and went in for an own goal.
Viieira then profited from yet another Ahmed error, seizing on his under-hit back-pass and rounding Essa again to slide home.
GOT RIGHT – PROVIDING A SPARK
It’s difficult to put any gloss on this performance, but if the hosts were ever going to claw their way back into the contest, Al Ahbabi always seemed the likely catalyst.
His relentless energy up and down the right wing – as well as his forays into midfield – dragged opponents all over the place. And with target man Marcus Berg providing a beacon to fire balls into, the right-back’s long bombs and crosses were proving the most effective method of attack for the hosts.
Only committed goalkeeping, defending and an off-day for the Swede prevented the Boss from breaching the visitors’ goal-line.
Additionally, though it may not be much comfort, he was the only player in the back five who was not directly at fault for at least one of the Ajman goals.
GOT WRONG – PETULANCE
The speedy defender is not often caught out for pace but he was during the first half by the fleet-footed Mame Thiam. The Senagalese showed good skill in a tight space to fashion a chance, and the former Bani Yas man had no choice but to manhandle him to the ground.
Al Ahbabi could have seen yellow for the foul, he was fortunate in the extreme not to be cautioned for kicking the ball away in frustration, especially as it was seemingly aimed in Thiam’s direction.