Shabab Al Ahli midfielder Davide Mariani is excited about the prospect of winning his first silverware in UAE football as his side takes on Sharjah in the Arabian Gulf Super Cup at Al Maktoum Stadium on Saturday.
The Swiss playmaker insisted his team’s preparations for the game are progressing well, adding that he expects a huge show of support from the Shabab Al Ahli faithful to propel them into the title.
Mariani, a recent arrival at Rashid Stadium from Bulgarian side Levski Sofia, hailed the atmosphere at his new side as motivating for the players to perform. “I am happy to be here. Everyone is supporting me and helping me adapt to life here,” he said ahead of what is expected to be a fiery affair as the President’s Cup winners find themselves face to face with the Arabian Gulf League champions.
“I feel like we have a team spirit and that will help us achieve great things together.
“I learnt that Sharjah are a strong side with a solid squad that has won the league. We have to be at our best and give our everything to overcome them.”
Sharjah goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani, meanwhile, is predicting a difficult match, with equal chances for both sides.
“It will be a strong encounter and both sides have an equal chance until kick-off, while concentration will be key to winning,” said last season’s Golden Glove winner.
“I hope our fans will turn up in numbers to support us, because their role is as important as ours. We are used to having them by our side and with their presence, the trophy will be ours.”
Shabab Al Ahli hold the record for Arabian Gulf Super Cup wins with four titles (2008/09, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2016/17). Al Ain and Al Wahda lead the chasing pack with three titles each, while Emirates Club have a sole title in 2010/11.
Six players share top spot in the competition’s scoring charts with two strikes each. Al Ain’s Emerson in 2009/10, Emirates’ Karim Karkar in 2010/11, Wahda’s Hugo Henrique in 2011/12 and Al Ain’s Emmanuel Emenike in 2015/16.
Moroccan winger Mourad Batna is the only player to have scored in two different editions of the Super Cup with the same team, having netted for Wahda in 2017/18 and 2018/19. Ibrahim Diaky remains the only player to have scored Super Cup goals for two different sides, first in Al Jazira colours in 2011/12 then in Al Ain’s shirt last season.
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