Makhete Diop eyes Al Dhafra exit and seeks ‘big’ move

Matt Jones 23/02/2015
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Ambitious: Makhete Diop.

Al Dhafra striker Makhete Diop wants to leave the Western Knights at the end of the season and move to a “big club”.

– Al Dhafra strike at the death to cause Al Jazira upset

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– Omar Abdulrahman celebrates new deal with lifetime Al Ain pledge

The Senegalese striker scored the first goal as Laurent Banide’s team stunned league leaders Al Jazira with a 2-1 victory at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday night.

The 26-year-old is joint third in the Arabian Gulf League scoring charts, his strike in the first half in Abu Dhabi taking him to 10 goals for the season.

There was interest in the 6’ 1” frontman, in his third season with Dhafra, from Saudi Arabia over the winter break, and Diop admits he could leave at the end of the campaign.

“Next year I think maybe I will take another step to go to another big team. That’s what I hope [for], so I will try to do my best with Dhafra this year and after four months I will see what will happen and if I can go,” he said.

“Already I have three offers from Al Nassr, Al Shabab and Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.”

Despite snatching a dramatic late winner to end Jazira’s five-game winning run, Diop was not surprised by his side’s victory.

He said: “No, we are never surprised. I have been for a long time in Dhafra and when we play with big teams, we are never afraid. 

“When we play the small teams we become afraid but against big teams we can get a big result. 

“We are in good form and unbeaten in four with the new manager, but we have Emirates next and then Al Ain so we will hope for good games and try our best at all times,” he added.

The frontman was injured in the process of scoring, coming off shortly after, but hopes to be fit for the trip to Emirates when the AGL resumes in two weeks’ time.

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Abdulrahman pledges lifetime to Al Ain

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Al Ain will be over the moon now their star man has committed to the club.

Al Ain superstar Omar Abdulrahman has marked the signing of his new three-year contract by revealing a desire to stay at the Arabian Gulf League giants “for a lifetime”.

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Abdulrahman, 23, took to Twitter on Friday to announce an extension had been secured to the four-year deal that was set to expire in the summer. This ended fears that he could be set for a free-transfer exit after wowing European scouts with his stellar performances during January’s Asian Cup.

Speaking at a packed press conference last night to officially celebrate the agreement, the coveted UAE international expressed his long-term contentment at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

 “The contract is for three years at the moment but I hope it will be for a lifetime,” Abdulrahman said. “As [Al Ain senior squad supervisor Mohammed] Obaid [Hammad] says, our relationship is beyond cash.

“I’m happy at the club and that is the most important thing. It is best for both Omar and the club.

“At the moment I’m serving Al Ain club for three years, five years, who knows.”

Abdulrahman and his family – including playing brothers Mohamed and Khaled – moved to the Garden City from Saudi Arabian-capital Riyadh in 2007. He has emerged as the shining light of Emirati football since debuting for the Boss six years ago, first posting notice of his breathtaking talent to a global audience during the 2012 London Olympics.

AGL, President’s Cup and Arabian Gulf Super Cup doubles have been lifted, this tally being added to by a solitary Arabian Gulf Cup in 2009.

A plethora of foreign agents had attempted to gain influence with him since inspiring the UAE’s run to third in last month’s Asian Cup. But he insisted there had never been any doubt about continuing his successful spell at Al Ain.

He said: “I am happy because I am son of the club, I am happy to renew my contract with the club.

“I do not want to talk about the money, but I feel I am valuable to the club as a good player.

“My main part now is to serve the club and show the best performances I have to make Al Ain successful in the league, cups and other competitions.

“For me as Omar, I will serve the club for either five or 10 years.”

Frustrations have been felt during a club campaign heavily disrupted by injury. Abdulrahman has made only three AGL appearances this term, picking up a hamstring problem a fortnight ago in the 2-1 victory against Al Shabab.

A return to action is on the horizon, though tomorrow’s AFC Champions League Group B opener at home to Al Shabab Riyadh should come too soon.

Abdulrahman said: “Recently, I have been injured so I have not been able to fully support my team. I am in the final stages to be back on the field.

“I ran for the first time last night [Saturday], I am waiting now for the green light from the doctor to join my team-mates.”

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“I wish UAE players would go to Europe” – Al Jazira’s Abdulla Mousa

Matt Jones 22/02/2015
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New deal: Omar Abdulrahman.

UAE and Al Ain fans alike may well rejoice in Omar Abdulrahman’s contract extension with the Boss, but Whites international Abdulla Mousa believes the talented playmaker should be pushing to test himself among Europe’s elite.

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Abdulrahman, 23, took to Twitter on Friday to reveal he had agreed to stay with the Boss for an unspecified amount of years. 

This announcement came despite speculation about the diminutive midfielder’s future growing after he was one of the UAE’s stars at January’s Asian Cup, where the Whites finished third.

Al Jazira defender Mousa, 27, believes Abdulrahman and clubmate Ali Mabkhout testing themselves in the biggest footballing environments in the world would benefit UAE football as a whole.

Mousa disagreed that one of the country’s brightest stars committing his future to Al Ain was all good news.

“Actually, I wish our players would go to Europe, because it’s good for the national team,” he said. 

“It would be good for the UAE. And good for him (Abdulrahman) also. To be a more experienced player.”

Mousa added: “For sure the fans will be happy, but for the good of him and the country, I’d like him to go and test himself. 

“I’ve played with Omar in the national team and he’s a fantastic player, and I could see him playing in one of the top leagues in Europe.”

A press conference has been called at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium today at 18:00, where confirmation and details of Abdulrahman’s new deal are expected to be announced.

Unlike Mabkhout, who has verbally agitated for a move abroad, Abdulrahman appears content in his adopted home country.

Mousa also hopes Jazira team-mate Mabkhout, 24, will make the move west.

“I wish also for Ali to have his chance in Europe. I’m sure he could play there.

"I see him every day in training and he’s growing up a lot this season.

"He was the best scorer in the Asian Cup and Gulf Cup in the same season too. That was a great moment for him.”

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